Heed good advice

United States Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote says, “As I watch Zambia’s reputation as a strong democracy slip in international reporting, I fear it’s partly driven by divisive politics and a sub-optimal focus on the welfare of the Zambian people. Zambians tell me they are sick of the political-party cadres, corruption, and the daily political attacks—from all sides. Zambia’s people want politicians and leaders to be more responsive to the needs of all citizens, and to focus less on constant ‘campaigning,’ and the narrow political and economic interests of connected individuals.

We all want our governments to be transparent and accountable. People can’t freely participate when governments are not open about their affairs. Non-transparent contracting and debt acquisition are imposing problematic debt, fueling corruption, and limiting the options for citizens to determine their futures.

Also, we are all aware of instances of budgeted funds, not to mention donor assistance, diverted for corrupt personal or political use.

By providing citizens better access to government dealings, such as by enacting the Freedom of Information bill, by publishing debt and procurement arrangements, and by requiring and disclosing reports on the assets of government officials, Zambia could significantly mitigate corruption and improve trust. We all want economic prosperity and better opportunities for our children and ourselves. Everyone wants to enjoy universal human rights and freedoms. Some of our fundamental rights, freedoms, and individual choices include speech, press, assembly, religion, opinion, and lifestyle. Disinformation has been around as long as human society, but fair, mature societies accept that free speech protects the vast majority of expression and strengthens democracy. While I admit that the term ‘fake news’ probably originated in the United States, using that as an excuse to suppress or persecute individuals and media organizations for expressing dissenting opinions goes against both our countries’ constitutions and ideals.

All democracies should remember that we must withstand criticism and accusations, which are best refuted through positive words and actions, rather than unproductive attacks, harassment, censure, or imprisonment.”

These are very good observations. And it time our leaders listened to good advice regardless of where it is coming from.

We are told in Proverbs 19:27, “If you stop listening to correction, my son,

you will stray from the words of knowledge.”

Failing to heed wisdom leads to some serious trouble. When we are guilty of ignoring wisdom, we can expect to face disgrace and even destruction.

This is not something we want to experience if we can avoid it!

The results of rejecting good advice result in hardships, division, contention, and sometimes even hatred. We should always receive and heed to good advice. Let’s not reject good advice and remember the Bible says that there is safety in the multitude of counselors.

If they have shortcomings, they should not be afraid to have them pointed out and criticised, because they serve the people. Anyone, no matter who, may point out their shortcomings. If he or she is right, they should correct them. If what he or she proposes will benefit the people, they should act upon it.

Those who are willing and able to learn mistakes and setbacks, become wiser and handle affairs better. It is hard for any political party or person to avoid mistakes, but they should make as few as possible. Once a mistake is made, they should correct it, and the more quickly and thoroughly the better.

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