The Power of Sustainable Values

Former Prime Minister of Britain, Neville Chamberlain stated in 1937, “For any government deliberately to deny to their people what must be their plainest and simplest right (to live in peace and happiness without the nightmare of war) would be to betray their trust and call down upon their heads the condemnation of all mankind.”  He further stated, “I do not believe that such a government anywhere exists among civilized peoples. I am convinced that the aim of every statesman worthy of the name, to whatever country he belongs, must be the happiness of the people for whom and to whom he is responsible.”

Recently the Commissioners attending the National Constitutional Conference adopted a clause that will exclude citizens without an education degree from entering the presidential elections. Soon, Zambia will have a constitution that will ban up to 99% of Zambians from aspiring to the presidency. When you bear in mind other considerations such as tribal, money, and age issues, those capable of pursuing the presidency diminishes to less than 1% of the population.  Mr. Chamberlain was wrong.  There are such governments and statesmen who are guided by values that state do whatever the situation will allow, no matter the wider interests of your people.  These actions are driven by situational values.  The Commissioners’ thinking is short-term because their reasoning is that they will be there only for a short time and after that they will be gone.

What our nation lacks is the ability to identify people who are inspired by sustainable values.  Sustainable values state that we will always be here; therefore, we must work in ways that sustain and facilitate for every living Zambian and future generations to pursue their happiness.  Sustainable values dictate that we must level the political field for all citizens.  With a level political playing ground, Zambians will have the ability to choose leaders they deserve – leaders who have character that is produced by their level of virtue and who reflect this in the ethics by which they live. Unfortunately, the trajectory of Zambia continues to be driven by those operating with situational values; therefore, our political field becomes increasingly catered towards those with power and opportunity.

Jesus prayer in John 17 for the disciples and future Christians gives us a powerful example of a leader who is inspired by sustainable values. His prayer was not only for the disciples living then but also for all of us who will believe in Him for generations to come. He prayed that we be unified and protected from the evil one while being people of character. Today, as a result of Christ’s prayer, Christians around the world are unified as a powerful witness to the reality of God’s love.

The real power to change the world for good does not lie in leaders who are inspired by situational values but by those inspired by sustainable values. Jesus prayed that the disciples not be taken out of the world but they be sent out into the world. Our prayer should be that those the Lord has given you to disciple are sent into the world with a vision of sustainable values.  If you are not praying this way then Zambia will continue to have leaders with a mindset dominated by situational values. May the Lord help his church in Zambia to send his disciples to serve in every sphere of life in our nation so that we are led by men and women bound to sustainable values.

Lawrence Temfwe