Announcing his resignation from Edgar Lungu’s government, Harry Kalaba, among other things, stated:
“There comes a time in a person’s life when it becomes necessary to die to self for the good of others and if not for that reason, at least to stand for one’s cherished ideals and values. I have just dropped my resignation letter as foreign affairs minister with President Edgar Lungu. I have no shade of doubt that this was a necessary undertaking and an unavoidable one looking at the path our country has taken – a path of insatiable greed and shame which is clearly unacceptable and unsuitable. My fundamental belief is that my allegiance should not be with a position, party or person but it must be with the country and its people. My conscious and everything I am have directed me to choose the country over my individual comfort…I have finally found peace in my mind and heart even in the face of losing the comfort that the position of minister brings to give both expression and action to what I believe in. In any case, I accepted this appointment in the first place as a gesture and avenue to serve my country but when that becomes difficult due to incongruence of values and objectives, there could only be one outcome. This outcome is what I am repeatedly convicted of by my own conscious especially at night when I go to bed to face my own brokenness. We cannot proceed to manage national affairs with cold indifference when the levels of corruption are swelling and being perpetrated by those who are expected to be the solution. Materialism and the propensity for money has taken over and is arrogantly at the centre of many decisions being made today. I can no longer be a silent listener to the whispers of greed and indifference making rounds in the corridors of power. I believe that the failure of the Zambian political and economic management does not lie in the individualistic nature of a lot of our politicians, but it is the result of oppressing this individualism to a level where there is consistent effort to suppress individualistic dynamism in preference for collective carelessness and indifference.
When people begin to feel overwhelmed by fear for speaking the truth, it is time to realize that critical fundamentals have shifted. We all have a role to play in making things right.”
It’s said that the principal difference between heaven and hell is the company you keep there. You’ll be known by the company you keep. You are the company you keep. And to define yourself by some label or some level of resources – that’s pretty shallow. T. B. Joshua said, “You are who you are by virtue of the company you keep.” They say, ‘Tell me who your enemy is, and I will tell you who you are; tell me with whom you associate, and I will tell you who you are; tell me who you walk with, and I’ll tell you who you are.’ You got to be careful of the company you keep.
Yes, you may not be responsible for what your friends do, but you will be judged by the company you keep. Colin Powell said, “A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.” It’s very important to beware of the company you keep and to see to it that you associate with the right type of people.
George Washington said, “It is better to be alone than in bad company.” It’s important to live with oneself and see to it that one always has good company. It is said that when you lose your freedom, you lose, first and foremost, the opportunity to choose the company you keep. There’s no doubt that the environment in Edgar’s government has become extremely toxic for Harry or any principled, honest, selfless person to withstand. Now it is as toxic and destructive as we have ever seen it. It’s very difficult to understand how a decent person can continue to serve in such a corrupt and rotten government and continue to be loyal to such recklessness, dishonesty.
Mark Twain said, “Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
And Theodore Roosevelt said, “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance…Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”
Indeed, a patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government. To borrow from Barack Obama, we say, “In the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it.” They say the greatest patriotism is to tell your country when it is behaving dishonorably, foolishly, viciously.
Samuel Adams warned, “If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”
And it is said that patriots always talk of dying for their country but never of killing for their country. Our loyalty should be to our country, not to its institutions or its President – “The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions, the President are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death.”
It’s not disloyal, betrayal or unpatriotic for Harry to resign from Edgar’s corrupt, intolerant and evil government and denounce the injustices being committed on our behalf, perhaps it’s the most patriotic thing he has done!