The problem of the state and the church is an interesting and enduring topic. What is the proper relationship between the state and the church? Should the state take sides among competing faiths and perhaps go to bed with one in governing secular state affairs? Should the church offer checks and balances to the point of being adversarial or it should merely work with the government of the day? These are all important questions. Zambia is a melting pot for all these questions and burgeoning literature on the subject attests to this. It has been amply demonstrated that the church can spearhead the toppling of an unjust and despotic government. But can a single clergy do it?
A Nigerian with the fancy name of Seer 1 has taken Zambia by virtual storm. Among the prophets, he is number one. In the spiritual showbiz, names and titles mean everything. Seer 1 may not have started off as the real number 1 seer, but clearly, he had his goal set and has worked his way towards the top. He is without a shade of doubt the number one seer on the Zambian scene. He is not shy to call himself the Jagaban of Africa. He is candid, brutal, and logical. He wears no gloves and pulls no punches. He is armed to the tooth with exquisite oratory flair. His cup of confidence is full to the brim. If charisma was a person, it is Mr. Andrew Ejimadu. The way he drinks his water or coke sucks you in. His maniacal laughter sounds supernatural, sending a tranquilising chill down your spine. He is your sweetest dream or your worst nightmare. He’s PF’s worst nightmare.
See 1 should talk about Boko Haram instead of the PF
The PF do not know how to respond to Seer 1. He is not in Zambia so they cannot send thugs to beat him up or kill him. Lawless PF lawyer Tutwa Ngulube cannot direct the police to go and break Seer 1’s legs. Through some clueless cadre, the PF have tried to complain to the Nigerian government against Seer 1. Let me address the PF attempt to silence Seer 1 or blunt his uppercuts with xenophobic claims that he is a foreigner who should not be preoccupied with Zambia’s affairs.
Firstly, asking Seer 1 to talk about Boko Haram is an ad hominem fallacy. The PF are attacking Seer 1 as a person instead of responding to his substantive attacks on the PF’s governance, or thiefdom, as some would like to call it. The folly of the fallacy is that one’s nationality or residence has no relevance on the claim that Edgar Lungu is the Jagaban of corruption. Seer 1 talks with verifiable facts such as the Financial Intelligence Committee report, Lungu’s and his most notorious lieutenants’ (Chitotela, Chitalu, Lusambo) unexplained sudden wealth which is on grandiose display. His nationality has nothing to do with the truth or falsity of these claims.
Secondly, freedom of speech is a liberty right possessed by every human being without geographical restrictions in the exercise thereof. Here is Article 19 of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” The right transcends territorial frontiers and Article 2 also clearly states UDHR rights are not territorial in scope.
Thirdly, Seer 1 sees himself as a cosmopolitan. In this vein, he begs Zambians to travel. Some Zambians travel quite all right, but they do not open their minds to learn about other countries. They therefore stunt their analytical prism. You see people with passports filled with immigration date stamps and visas but with nothing to show for it in improving their perspective. Travelling is not only for taking a selfie with the London Eye or Eiffel Tower in the background.
More importantly, as a philosophy, cosmopolitanism entails a duty to all and any right-holders unrestricted by artificial geographical lines. Accused of being an outsider, Martin Luther King Jr retorted to his detractors, “I am in Birmingham because injustice is here.” He justifies his cosmopolitan outlook thus, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.
We do not need to look too far to affirm King Jr’s conviction. Dr Sishuwa Sishuwa has rightly pointed out that the xenophobia in South Africa is at least in part due to injustice against citizens in other SADC countries who then flee to that country. Indeed, we have seen how the PF, failing its citizens, is ready to ship them in thousands to the Middle East where their Christianity is frowned upon and modern slavery is rampant.
Kenneth Kaunda grasped this profound tenet of human moral interconnectivity that diverted colossal national resources towards the liberation of other African countries.
Hence, rather than condemn Seer 1, we should applaud him and emulate him. The PF are our own Boko Haram keeping Zambians kumunga wefwafwa in all spheres of life. Zambians can’t breathe. Foreign emissaries to Zambia too have a cosmopolitan duty to raise concerns when the PF violates rights of the citizens such as abuse of the colonial Public Order Act.
Fourthly, Seer 1 as a clergy, has a prophetic role to do God’s work anywhere on earth. I am “compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own town”, declared King Jr. True clergy such as Desmond Tutu fulfil their prophetic role against injustice everywhere, believing as they do, that all humans are made in the image of God. God’s work is borderless. I find obtuse and parochial those like Sumaili who look down on any Gods besides the Caucasian God of Christianity.
Instead of speaking out for the oppressed, Sumaili’s favoured Pentecostal churches have their eyes on the greatest reward, dining with President Lungu whom they know can be exceedingly generous to all manner of useful idiots. The pastors are clamouring for attention at the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs to request the president or Sumaili to officiate at their church functions. These churches are willing to ignore all the brutality and corruption in the PF to have some access to kasaka kandalama.
Kissing with eyes open
If someone comes to mourn with you, it does not mean they have your best interest. When you are hungry and thirsty in the desert and vultures start hovering around you, do not think they are feeling sorry for you. A place of great discontent is a fertile ground for cult leadership to emerge and blossom. Moses, Jesus of Nazareth, Hitler, Sata all arose in places of great desolation. Pastors realise people’s needs and use that to squeeze their hard-earned income out of their purses. When you are neediest is when you are most vulnerable to conmen and women. All these YouTubers clamouring for likes and subscriptions must be taken with a pinch of salt. It is not only Seer 1. Let us not follow blindly anyone including opposition political parties.
Blind followers turn good people into little demigods or monsters who will turn around and cannibalise their own. Lungu might have been a humble man. Now there is no iota of that left because of the psychopathic sycophants he has surrounded himself with. He knew he was not good enough for the presidency. But schemers (not God!) thrust him into State House, and now look who wants a third term amidst record setting governance failure!
Seer 1 claims to be a disciple of God Father with supernatural powers. However, all our problems can be explained and resolved without any reference to some supernatural beings or powers. Reference to some higher powers simply signals ignorance or an effort to appear more important than one is in order to manipulate the gullible. With their delusions and ambitions of grandeur, some claim to be God or God’s child while others claim to be special envoys of some deity. There is zero reason or evidence in support of such self-elevation.
Seer 1 says he has ‘do-as-I-say’ charms from Nigeria. This is utter nonsense. The objects or rings may exist, but they are impotent. They cannot help you win an election, pass Bill 10, bring back your lover, pass exams, win a court case, or prevent COVID-19. Any success while using these charms is coincidental or placebo. Having spent nearly 10 years here, he could feel very Zambian genuinely. Fair enough. However, he should not use his apparent love for Zambia, hatred for Lungu’s corruption and tyranny to ensnare desperate Zambians into worshiping him and buying his useless ‘expensive’ charms.
Seer 1 claims to be able to see into the future. But that is merely bluffing. Again, to appear divinely chosen so he can entice people to buy charms. Like a clever and cynical pastor, Seer 1 pays meticulous attention to minute details on the Zambian socio-economic and political landscape. From analysis of gathered facts, he makes bold conjectures and Christens them as visions from God the Father. Apparently, Seer 1 missed some important things. He failed to foresee PF’s abject failure at governance and his own deportation! I am tempted to mimic his laughter. He reminds me of God who has promised everything will be perfect if we accept his child. But some of us still remember after creating the world, God certified it perfect. But here we are with COVID-19 and Bowman Lusambo running amok. Lusambo, who, if I may add, epitomises the phenomenon of an uncultivated narcissistic mind in a suit.
You remove Seer 1’s God the Father, his fortune-telling, and the ‘do-as-I-say’ charms and you are left with a credible force to reckon with. He is the magnet for the disgruntled Zambians from across the socio-economic spectrum. He is the fire assembly point for the fire that has engulfed the PF and Zambia. More Zambian than those connived to deport him. The so-called patriots with corruption national values who have terrorised citizens. Those with no shame or guilt whatsoever in spending colossal amounts of our money putting up some stupid insanely gigantic Bill 10 billboards. Anyone who can reassure us, “Zambians are hardworking, Zambians are intelligent” and that “Zambia is going to be great again. Zambia is so blessed”, must be embraced by all persons of goodwill. The Church should make Jesus’ social justice teachings its primary focus and not scramble for Caesar’s crumbs.
Julius Kapembwa, PhD
The author is a lecturer at the University of Zambia, Department of Philosophy & Applied Ethics. He teaches Philosophy of Religion, Critical Thinking, and Ethics. firstname.lastname@example.org