Monday, 1 April 2013

Welcome to Sata’s Rule by 10 Commandments

For Sata the commandment:  
‘thou shall not worship any other God, apart from your creator’ 
seems to mean to rule without others, but by his decisions and wisdom.

By Nyalubinge Ngwende
President Sata has fascination for religious symbols
On Good Friday, April 29, 2013 President Sata kissed the crucifix in memorial of the execution of Jesus Christ. It was not a surprise for the President to show off his fascination with the Christian faith in the glare of national television cameras. He knows such excites the people to believe he is pious; only shame is that the same mouth he kissed the crucifix with has wrongfully accused and judged others.

In fact one of the laughable, yet implicating decrees, Sata made to the nation after assuming office was to declare "I will govern by 10 commandments". People applauded and daily papers ran headlines, without seeing the proclamation as exclusionary, whose objective is to subject his political rule to the divinity of Christianity and God. He bestowed on himself the agency of representing the heavenly rule in Zambia; giving his government a special relationship with God. 

It is not something laudable; it has far reaching implications to democracy. Subordinating political rule to the relationship with God is inimical to the promotion of genuine and free political thought.  Religion discourse is not subject to second opinion which is a virtue in political governance and, by any chance, if Sata manages to convince the citizens to accept that his 10 commandments rule is alright with them, does his actions really stick with these virtues?

To start with, one of the 10 commandments says ‘thou shall not worship any other god, but your only true creator’ 

The implication of this one commandment among others which Sata said he was going to use to run this country is to bestow on himself the Divine Right to rule [without] being questioned. His rule is by God and not man. All that he does is in the name of God and he is right, infallible; anyone who questions or opposes his authority goes against the statutes of God. ‘Sinners’ shall be punished without recourse to any law. 

Could this be the reason why Sata does not want to relate with other political leadership, and he has so far looked-on mute, may be to his satisfaction, as the police arm of government suppress opposition activities and twist around atrocities committed by the ruling party members against the complaining opposition?
Since coming to office, apart from the invitation of Edith Nawakwi and Elias Chipimo to the Earth Summit in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Sata has not been seen in company of leaders of other political parties; maybe in secret. The country is yet to see him set a table of dialogue to discuss many major national issues that have polarised the country with other interest groups. May be he does through telephone conversation, but the country is never kept abreast with the outcome of such pillow talk. 

Further, under the 10 commandments rule, what has been the practice of enforcing laws?

Laws are made not to take away rights of people but to secure them so they can happily enjoy them without infringing on other people’s similar liberties. They are legislated within the shared willingness of those who should obey them and not necessarily be forced by government on the governed. In fact the rules, especially those that touch on property ownership and their workers must be fully negotiated with all parties—the unions, the employers and the government—so that the result does not disadvantage the owners of production or those providing their labour.

At no time should government assume the master role to decide to take away the proceeds that a citizen, acquires through personal or corporate ingenuity or labour, without the consent of the elected members of parliament through which electorates conduct their participation to govern. That is the spirit of democracy and respect for human rights.  Anything short of that is tyranny!

Sadly that tyranny is emerging under the 10 commandments rule of President Sata, which must be rejected, because Zambians did not elect an individual minister but 150 representatives who are to decide on the laws that must direct the appropriation of wealth earned through an individual or corporate citizen’s ingenuity to create wealth and jobs. Zambians want laws to be drawn by the 150 MPs because power in one individual turns oppressive and is less considerate. In fact power in one politician is a tool to serve partisan interests disguised as service to the poor; it can even be used selectively to hurt private people who sympathise with those opposed to the ruling party.

Unfortunately, tyranny is the style with which a new statutory instrument on minimum wage was secretly crafted and signed by labour minister Fackson Shamenda and imposed on private employers. When the employers and labour unions cried foul and protested, government threatened them with prosecution for abrogating the law. The new rule must not be abrogated regardless circumstances of one employer to afford the cost. Those who wanted to shed off labour were also threatened with prosecution and to be treated as enemies of the state.

Now the new Statutory Instrument on minimum wage has triggered an increase in production costs and this could explain why commodities, like the staple mealie meal, are now costing more. Government is oblivious of this cost they pushed on the millers and retailers who employ labour. Without any law to back the government, it has responded to the increase in prices with some outdated economical measures of price controls that are akin to free market economy.

Queer deportations of employers accused of underpaying Zambian workers are also happening with unprecedented regular pattern; unfortunately those deported have not been allowed to seek recourse with the justice system; if you are deported, you are declared an enemy of the nation (at least under PF) and you are out on the first next flight.

To Sata and the Patriotic Front, the 10 commandments rule is to govern by Divine, unquestionable, Right. All he does is right and no one else is because he was bestowed to rule by Christian virtues, wisdom. This has come out in all major decisions that he took from day one of executing his presidential duties.

When he came to implementing his ‘90 Days, 90 Nights’ constitution plan, he set out to institute a Technical Committee to draft the document. This was done without any legal framework or Act of parliament to legalise the process. Calls from stakeholders to have a legal framework have received ‘deafening silence’ from the President. What he says is all law and no one should question it; not even the legal procedures and requirement of the country can subordinate his position.

For Sata the commandment: ‘thou shall not worship any other God, apart from your creator’ seems to mean to rule without others, but by his decisions and wisdom. No one, not even the learnt men of the bar and those of the cloth, matter.  It even means being a Moses, who will take the country in the wilderness of decisions and commit it to programmes that have huge legal and financial implications that were, unfortunately, not allowed by the legislature and never provided for in the budget. Maybe, like Moses, he believes God will provide and all will be made whole by the divine hand—probably cast water out of stone, or wakeup the other morning finding manner filling up the country’s coffers. Simply put, our budget is limited and after being passed Sata has created more deputy minister positions—overstretching the limited resources that were allocated to ministries for service delivery.

From a different perspective, the idea to use tricks of creating deputy ministers position in order to steal opposition members of parliament makes Sata fail the test of two other of his 10 commandments in the context of: though shall not commit adultery, thou shall not steal and thou shall covet anything that belongs to your neighbour.

To take something that belongs to others, without their legitimate consent, is theft. This may sound trivial, but one needs to reflect, on the biblical meaning of the two words theft and adultery. The lexical selection of these words must also be understood in the context of a group and its members and how important group interests are over the self-serving interests of the individual members.

Sata has a lot of introspection over religion and politics
Sata must have known that groups in the bible are yoked by ideologies; driving principles that make THEM and US. If the MPs were voted on the name of a political party they surrender their individual selfish interests to the beliefs of the group. If another political party start engaging these MPs in illegitimate relationships and they also portray harlotry tendencies, one is at liberty to see the thievery and adulterous nature in Sata. It is illegitimate! It is being deceitful; if it were not, Sata would have not allowed these MPs to choose to abandon their political parties and join the ruling party. He does not even seem to reflect whether what he has allowed to happen has a bearing on his embracing the 10 commandments and the Christian mores. If he does, then he has a huge task for self introspection why he kisses the crucifix.

Another telling action that Sata has bestowed on himself authoritarian power in the name of God is that he does not want parliament to stop anything including those things that government may see as good intentions but in deeper sense may not be as just to the good of all Zambians.

No leader will ever accept that they are tyrants; they are all good leaders in their own conviction and among those who crouch under them for protection and pick whatever benefits from the totalitarian rule. Tyrants will stop at nothing, but use anything to cloak their actions, religious doctrines being their fascination because they arouse public excitement in their favour.

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