WIKIPEDIA DESCRIBES sincerity as the virtue of one who communicates and acts in accordance with the entirety of their feelings, beliefs, thoughts and desires in a manner that is honest and genuine. But I’m afraid that most Zambians, especially politicians, fall short of this moral measure. Since politicians are the mirror image of our society, I would not be wrong to suspect that many of us are very economical with the truth. I say so because quite so often people in authority tend to exaggerate one opinion over the other, depending on what is convenient at the time. Politicians tend to play double standards when it suits them. The recent happenings where some politicians are enticing youths to demand for commission of inquiry into privatisation of public assets which happened more than twenty five years ago is one example of how insincere politicians are and how they manipulate situations to gain political mileage.
If we were sincere and honest, we would have demanded for commission of inquiry into privatisation many years ago. But now politicians want to do it in order to gain points. A couple of weeks ago I said on this forum that a commission of inquiry in privatisation is a political witch hunt and would just waste public funds. I don’t stand to defend those suspected of abusing the privatisation process, but rather asking why government wants to investigate privatisation when there are other pressing issues where we could spend money on. Not only that, we have had cases in the past where commissions of inquiries should have been set up but nothing has been done. The death of the Zambian national football team in 1993 is one example, among others. We have also had findings of commissions of inquiry that have never been made public and no one has cared to find out why. And now that elections are near, politicians have drawn their daggers and want to cut each other, all in the name of who sold what company three decades ago. This is one way of being dishonest.
I sympathise with those former workers who are being paraded to demand for a commission of inquiry. Yes, they suffered due to privatisation. But we know that they’re just being used by politicians. If indeed these people were not paid their benefits, it does not mean that one person pocketed their money. Again I ask, as I did before; where were these people all these years? Where were all the security wings when someone was selling public assets and pocketing the money? Let me tell everyone out there: even if we have a commission of inquiry and findings and recommendations were given to the president, none of these petitioners or any of these old people being paraded will get a One Ngwee coin. Never!
Know what, those who are singing praises to President Lungu today will abandon him when tables turn. Let me remind you that at the time of wrestling power from first Republican President Kenneth Kaunda, many current politicians called KK a Satanist, who ruined the country economically. Today, the founding father of the nation is considered a saint. Levy Mwanawasa was called names, but today he’s said to be one of the best leaders this country has had. Michael Sata was insulted by some prominent members of the ruling party, but today these people have taken over the party he founded. This is what I mean when I say many politicians in Zambia today are not sincere.
Remember that when tables turn and other people take over leadership of the country, the same witch hunt will start again. For example, people will ask who benefitted from the purchase of Fire Engines or what happened to the 48 mysterious houses. People will want to find out who was really behind the mukula tree saga. There are many allegations today which those in authority can brush aside, but since we are not sincere now, others will at some future time want us to account for our misdeeds today. Only time will tell.
What then does it take to be sincere? Sincerity requires that we are ethical in all we do and keep close to our hearts the old mantra of doing to others what we would like them do to us.
If a crime has been committed, let the judicial process take place there and then, instead of waiting for instructions from the President or paying surrogate civil society organisations to match to State House and petition for matters that happened years before some of them were even born. Those who hold public office should not carry an exaggerated sense of piety, but instead they should always know that as you point one accusing finger at the other person, three of your own fingers are pointing at you.
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