Chief Chikanta says Constitutional Court ruling entails “the time that everybody must be on the ground in preparation for 2021 because that’s the only way each person will have the opportunity to pass their own judgment regarding the matter, whether they agree with the court’s ruling or not, other than resorting to complaining now”. He is right.
“Politicians must not take people’s silence as an indication that all is well. The thing is that people are fatigued with these political games,” says Chikanta.
Indeed, the decision of the Constitutional Court to give Edgar a third term of office doesn’t guarantee him anything. The Zambian people can rule otherwise. And no amount of political intimidation, violence, abuse of the police and the public order Act, manipulation of the electoral process can guarantee him a third of office. The judges voted for Edgar’s third term but the Zambian people can easily overturn their decision.
People’s silence doesn’t mean they agree with Edgar and the decision of his judges. It means their level of callousness renders them speechless. But even when faced with extreme stupidity, we make it known that it won’t be tolerated. Let those who mistreat, harass, abuse others know it’s not OK and need to stop, period.
So if you see something, say something. Albert Einstein said, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
Thomas Jefferson warned: “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
Leonardo Da Vinci said, “He who does not oppose evil, commands it to be done.”
Indeed, what you allow, you encourage.
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of injustice.
Silence in the face of injustice is complicity with injustice.
Charles Blow said, “One does not have to operate with great malice to do great harm. The absence of empathy and absence of understanding are sufficient.”
We must never to be silent whenever and wherever humans endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the villain, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormenter, never the tormented.
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest it.
Ralph Emerson said, “You think that your silence on certain topics, perhaps in the face of injustice, or unkindness, or mean-spiritedness, causes others to reserve judgement of you. Far otherwise; your silence utters very loud: you have no oracle to speak, no wisdom to offer, and your fellow citizens have learned that you cannot help them. Doth not wisdom cry, and understanding put forth her voice? We would be well to do likewise.”
Martin Luther King Jr said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter…. In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
There are times when silence becomes an accomplice to injustice.
There is only one thing more appalling than the Constitutional Court’s decision to give Edgar a third term of office today. It is the silence of Christian leaders across Zambia, leaders who choose convenience over confrontation, leaders who would rather be popular than prophetic, leaders who prefer the favour of people over the favour of God. Shame on these silent leaders. Today is a day to stand.
There are, of course, the handful of expected Christian voices protesting the court’s outrageous decision.
What we are witnessing today is a breathtaking abuse of power, an extreme overreach by the government.
In the aftermath of the Holocaust, courageous Christian leader Basilea Schlink rebuked the silence of Christians immediately after Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass (Nov. 9, 1938), when the Nazis set synagogues on fire and vandalised Jewish places of business, also killing and beating so many people.
Schlink wrote, “We are personally to blame. We all have to admit that if we, the entire Christian community, had stood up as one man and if, after the burning of the synagogues, we had gone out on the streets and voiced our disapproval, rung the church bells, and somehow boycotted the actions of the S.S., the Devil’s vassals would probably not have been at such liberty to pursue their evil schemes. But we lacked the ardor of love — love that is never passive, love that cannot bear it when its fellow men are in misery, particularly when they are subjected to such appalling treatment and tortured to death. Indeed, if we had loved God, we would not have endured seeing those houses of God set ablaze; and holy, divine wrath would have filled our souls. …Oh, that we as Germans and as Christians would stand aghast and cry out ever anew, ‘What have we done?’ At every further evidence of our guilt may we repeat the cry.”