Justice and Righteousness

The USA has two major political parties – The Republicans and The Democrats. Republicans believe in smaller central government, free market capitalism, and are socially conservative. Democrats promote a larger and more active central government, intervention and regulation of the markets, and are socially liberal. Nearly all of the rhetoric leading up to an election is about how the fundamental differences between the two parties will be applied to current issues facing the country. For example, both parties want the people of USA to be healthy, but the Democrats believe health insurance should be provided by the government and Republicans believe it could better be provided by private companies if the government would simply get out of the way. The issues being discussed during the recent midterm elections at the beginning of November ranged from repealing President Obama’s National Health Insurance Plan to the war on ISIS and Ebola. 

imageIn Zambia, with a population 30 times less than the USA, we have at least 6 political parties contending for the presidency. Here is how they will tell us why we must vote for them: “we will reduce the price of fertilizer, we will give you a new constitution, we will create more jobs, we will give you more bursaries for students going to university, and we will allow you to trade in the street.” What they don’t tell us is how they are different from each other, except that “the other guy is too old or that man has no experience.” If one was to draw a table list of the issues that matter to the common Zambian and how each political party proposes to address the problems (orphans and vulnerable children, farming, gender based violence, youth unemployment, free markets, HIV and AIDS and education) one will discover that our political parties either don’t have a position on the issues or their position is the same as the party next to them.

If political parties held positions on issues, ‘respected’ Zambian politicians who move from one party to another should be able to tell us what fundamental issues made them move from one party to another. As it stands, most party hopping is done because of the potential personal return in the form of a job or contract and NOT the result of thoughtful disagreements on fundamental party beliefs. Our democracy will not grow stronger until our ideological beliefs grow deeper. Our fight against corruption is far from being won because we elect leaders who hold no positions on issues that matter to ordinary citizens.  We have become a purposeless and alienated nation.  Even the efforts we were making to create ourselves a dream that our children may build on is lost.

A common vision is necessary for building a nation. As Christians we ought not to struggle with what this common vision looks like. In Isaiah 9:7 we learn that God’s government is built upon justice and righteousness. The church can show the national what righteousness and justice look like by modelling it. The church does a great service to the nation when it leads the way in the care of orphans, developing servant leaders, and developing politicians and business people with character and integrity. God has a plan for Zambia. We must start by helping our members understand what justice and righteousness look like in the public square so they may live it out. May God bless us with a leader who will hold on to the position of justice and righteousness in public office.