Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu fears the political mood next year will be very toxic and an explosion can occur.
“Anybody who says there is no tension in this country doesn’t live in this country. It is extremely dangerous because people don’t know where we are going but we are going. We feel that in certain areas of governance, there is no democratic dispensation reigning in there,” says Archbishop Mpundu. “What we desire for this country is peace and politics that are done in a civilised way. We are not yet civilised when it comes to doing politics.”
For those who care about politics as a vehicle to help improve our nation’s quality of life, who believe in a multiparty political dispensation in moving the nation forward as a just and compassionate society, and who yearn for civilised politics that are peace-oriented, and dignified – Edgar Lungu is anathema.
Seldom is there near-unanimous agreement on anything in Zambia these days. One of those rare examples is that Zambia’s political discourse is toxic. We think we all agree on this one.
The toxic political environment is mainly being caused by Edgar’s desire to cling to power at any cost. The other week he was warning Patriotic Front leaders and cadres that they will suffer if they lose power.
The national climate for political discourse is distorted by this fear of losing power and its consequences. And because of this the space for the opposition and other dissenting voices to freely and openly express their political views is shrinking.
We know that the thirst for power at any price leads to abuses and injustice.
This leads to the undermining of the ideal of an authentic democracy, bringing disgrace to public life and threatening social harmony. We think of corruption in its varied forms: the misappropriation of public resources, the exploitation of individuals, the denial of rights, the flouting of community rules, dishonest gain, the justification of power by force or the arbitrary appeal to raison d’état and the refusal to relinquish power, created a very toxic political environment.
To this we can add lack of concern for the natural environment and the plundering of natural resources for the sake of quick profit.
Good politics promotes the participation of and trust in others.
When the exercise of political power aims only at protecting the interests of a few privileged individuals, the future is compromised and people can be tempted to lose confidence, since they are relegated to the margins of society without the possibility of helping to build the future. But when politics concretely fosters the talents of people and their aspirations, peace grows in their outlook and on their faces. It becomes a confident assurance that says, “I trust you and with you I believe” that we can all work together for the common good. Politics is at the service of peace if it finds expression in the recognition of the gifts and abilities of each individual.
This kind of trust is never easy to achieve, because human relations are complex, especially in our own times, marked by a climate of mistrust rooted in the fear of others or anxiety about one’s personal security.