Council of Churches in Zambia general secretary Father Emmanuel Chikoya says the insulting language being exhibited by some politicians is a manifestation of the kind of leaders they would make if voted into office.
And Fr Chikoya has called on politicians to engage into issue-based discourse saying insulting cannot take the country anywhere as Zambians are already fed up with too many insults amongst leaders.
Commenting on the “Lungu ni ndoshi (Lungu is a witch)” statement made by Roan PF member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili during a meeting with his supporters in Mufulira last week, Fr Chikoya told News Diggers! in an interview that it was unacceptable for leaders to use such language in Christian nation.
“As CCZ, we want to promote Christian unity. Both of these people (Kambwili and Lungu’s PF) claim to be Christians. The Bible says we shall be known by our fruits, so where are these fruits of insults coming from? They are a product of who we are and once we get into power, they begin to manifest in fullness. I think we need to see fruits of love and gentleness if [we] claim to be Christians because these are some of the characteristics that leaders should be seen to exhibit, no matter how provoked they are,” Fr Chikoya said.
“We should follow the procedure, no matter how defective they are. You should follow the processes so that you should be able to say, ‘I did ABC but nothing has been done’. We should always have hope that something would get better. There are times when judgement has been passed when people least expected. So, there is still an atom of hope in our security systems, and it can better. It shall get better, so let us just continue using the right channels to express our grievances, ensuring that if there is an offender, let the due process of the law follow them.”
He said politicians should engage in issue-based politics and strive to sell their agendas for the country to the people and not selling their insults.
“I think politicians, including those in the opposition, should be issue-based in their discourse. The politics of name-calling and character assassination are strongly condemned. Even the prevailing issues of violence because of the [ongoing] by-election must not be there. People must not be desperate for power. Desperate people don’t have an agenda, they don’t have a vision. People who have a vision and an assignment from God are gentle. We have examples in the Bible of David; he had an opportunity, for example, to eliminate Saul but he said, ‘I cannot touch the Lord’s anointed. He (Saul) may have fallen out but I will wait for God’s time’. That means you should do your hard work, you should be practical, you sell your agenda, you sell your ideology, not your insults,” Fr Chikoya advised.
“The people of Zambia are fed up and tired of this culture of insults because it’s not helping anybody. So, our leaders must stop this kind of politics; our leaders both in the opposition and those in government must just stop because today it may be the opposition, but tomorrow it will be a government-related person. I think we need to sober up, if someone insults you, do you need to insult back? Just be focused and deliver a seasoned speech. I think politicians should avoid having a foul mouth as if you are suffering from mouth diarrhoea. This needs to stop because the people of Zambia are not going to get anywhere because you have insulted each other better. The people of Zambia will get better when you provide checks and balances, when you provide a viable and very credible alternative because that is what the people of Zambia need.”
Fr Chikoya noted that the culture of politicians using insults to settle scores might have a negative impact on the strides made so far to table the dialogue talks between the ruling party and the opposition.
“Insults complicate matters and for genuine dialogue to take place, both parties (the opposition and the ruling party) must respect each other. There is just need to get away from the culture of fighting one another through insults and begin to say ‘we are Zambians, what is our problem?’ If it’s tribalism, let’s put it in front of us; if it’s bad governance let’s put it in front of us and begin to say, ‘these are the issues…how do we solve them?’ Then we can share our views from there. A culture of insults and continuous fights is not conducive for dialogue because dialogue takes place when people are able to recognise their mistakes. I think we need to deal with all these things and certain errors that we might be able to notice in our Constitution for a better Zambia so that in 2021 we can be able to move forward together. I think these insults have implications, and anything that just agitates the person that you are already in conflict with has implications on dialogue. So, we would like to call upon both opposition and government to tone down, repent genuinely and begin to work towards building a better Zambia,” guided Fr Chikoya