Do We Need Another By-Election

The expulsion of the Hon. George Mpombo and the Hon. Ng’andu Magande by the MMD party signals another by-election to choose new Members of Parliament (MP) for the Kafulafuta and Chilanga constituencies.  The MMD advances the position that these MPs were bringing the name of the party into disrepute and were making disparaging remarks to the President and the party.  Of course MPs, like any citizen, have the freedom to question the President on matters related to the economic, social, and political affairs of the nation.  As servants of the people, MPs should question policies and agendas that are not in the best interest of those they represent.  Questions should come from the hearts and minds of the constituents with their well being as paramount to all other considerations.  The voters from Kafulafuta and Chilanga would do well to ask whether their MPs were expelled based on questions asked and actions taken out of self interest or with the interest of the constituency in mind.

Until we answer this question we will be subjected to unnecessary by-elections, which cost us millions of Kwacha, simply because we have failed to elect leaders who will represent our collective interests above their personal interest.  Questions rarely asked are: how will you treat the poor, people living with HIV and AIDS, orphans, and widows?  The Bible says that those who aspire to lead, “They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve…” (1 Timothy 3:10).  This verse suggests that we should test the character, aptitude, track record, and servant’s heart before we elect people into public office.  Sorrowfully, from the time of independence until today, we have been in the practice of approving or disapproving of leaders once they have taken office instead of examining them while they are candidates.

The Bible teaches that worthy leaders are those who have experience, and whose love for God and integrity has been demonstrated consistently to those they seek to serve.  The story of Dorcas as told in Acts 9 is a beautiful illustration of the lengths people will go to stand up for a leader who has faithfully served them.  As the story goes, Dorcas was a woman “full of good works and acts of charity…who became ill and died.”  Unwilling to accept the fate of the one who had served them tirelessly, the friend’s of Dorcas sent two men to find the apostle Peter that he might come and raise Dorcas from the dead!  Knowingly or unknowingly, the two honourable men of parliament have been put to the “Dorcas’ Test” I wonder if we will see members of their constituency stand up to resurrect their political lives…because of their good works?  Although we are generally passive and have a fear of the unknown I would hope that those who were represented by the expelled MPs would stand up in their defence to the measure they have been served.

As a nation, Zambia has been deprived of experienced and tested leaders. How does your church elect leaders? Does it elect people who have commended themselves through previous behaviour and hard work for the common good of all? As we look to the future let us elect leaders who are already doing most for the present world and who also are thinking most of the next. Those who think most of the next world know that they are in public office not to overthrow Lusaka and take political power, but that they are in office to bring a change of heart and mind that requires action, a commitment to justice, hard work, and righteousness.  May God help his church in Zambia to elect tested leaders.  Only then, can our voice about the need for tested leadership in public office be made with integrity.

Lawrence Temfwe