George Zulu says loyalty is a virtue that should not be bought.

“These days I see loyalty to money. People don’t have loyalties to individuals but loyalties to money. I have been loyal to Dr Kenneth Kaunda in and outside his presidency. Now he has become just like my father. I want to tell my colleagues in government today that loyalty in government has got its price. Sometimes you pay a very high price for being loyal to a president. I see these days that civil servants are dismissed from employment because they are perceived to be loyal to a president or a minister who maybe has lost favour with the governing party. I myself paid a very high price for being loyal to KK.”

The merits of loyalty are often debated – anyone who has ever been hurt by someone they considered a true friend can attest to the fact that loyalty is a double-edged sword. But no one who has ever found himself in need of a true friend can deny it is one of the most valuable gifts in the world. But as valuable it is, it can also be exceedingly rare.

Perhaps one of the reasons that it is such a rare quality these days is that loyalty is so easy to be misplaced. How many times have you given your loyalty to a person or a cause only to realise that your trust has been betrayed and your faith has been broken? But without loyalty, associations, relationships are broken and friendships are empty.

Zulu’s loyalty to Dr Kaunda should inspire us to seek and create the best in our own relationships, to lead others with generosity and grace, and to provide the best service to those who deserve it.

Zulu is right – loyalty cannot be bought with money; loyalty cannot be blueprinted. It cannot be produced on an assembly line. In fact, it cannot be manufactured at all, for its origin is the human heart – the centre of self-respect and human dignity. It is a force which leaps into being only when conditions are exactly right for it – and it is a force very sensitive to betrayal.

Loyalty purchased with money, money can destroy.

And loyalty to an unjust cause is not loyalty, it is a perversion of honour.

You cannot buy loyalty; you cannot buy the devotion of hearts, minds, and souls. You have to earn these things.

It is said that faithless is he or she that says farewell when the road darkens.

Veronica Roth said, “I belong to the people I love, and they belong to me – they, and the love and loyalty I give them, for my identity far more than any word or group ever could.”

Nothing is more noble, nothing more venerable, than loyalty.

Martin Luther said, “Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved.”

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