By Chimwemwe Mwanza

When bigotry becomes accepted as a norm in a society over the course of time, the powerful tend to create for themselves a moral code that glorifies awful, bizarre and often irrational decisions. Cowered into silence, the voice of the intelligentsia gradually drowns into a comatose.

Be very afraid then, when rights of law abiding citizens are trampled upon willy-nilly, when the powerful, chose to cast a blind eye to the real social and economic malaise afflicting a society. It is said after all that the hallmark of a constitutional democracy to which Zambia ascribes is its ability to produce a knowledgeable citizenry whose views, rights and choices are not only protected but respected.

Proverbs 24 verse 3-4, New International Version (NIV) amplifies this belief, “by wisdom a house is built and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. Few would dispute that a Zambia, that is tolerant of dissenting views, either political or otherwise, supports multi – culturalism and respects a people’s choice of faith – key but among other attributes, is the society that we all aspire to live in.Be even more afraid when the most liberal clergy and commentariat resign themselves to mere spectatorship – allowing charlatans to sell discriminatory fortitudes as the beacon for morality.

Which brings us to this conversation. Whatever informed the declaration of Zambia as a Christian state, the irony of the consequences of that decision should not be ignored any longer.What prompted this declaration? Did the secular state – as it were pre-the declaration cost the country its moral compass. Was civil society and the general populace complicity in this decision?

With Christianity now firmly entrenched as the supreme faith of the land, what are we to make of the rights of other faith based religions? Suffice to add though, has the advent of this declaration achieved anything tangible. I beg to be indulged for my warped memory is unable to piece together – actual reasons that led to this development. It’s the inconsistency though and a perceived parochial application of Christian values and tenets that’s raised my interest.

Zambia’s constitution and the society envisioned by it, encourages a participative society. In Orwellian terms, all animals should not only be deemed equal but enjoy the same rights. Aside from the many questionable decisions made under the guise of protecting the moral sanctity of a society, this conversation deliberately steered clear of the belly of the political terrain but elected to interrogate a few but questionable decisions.

Soon after his punchy sermons spread like a wildfire, Seer 1, a Nigerian prophet was mysteriously bundled out of the country. His cardinal sin is believed to have been his ability to magically print loads of kwacha for his impoverished flock. Those in the know testify to the prowess of his miracles going as far as comparing him to the legendary Pastor Alf Lukau – remember he who resurrected a rotten corpse in a Johannesburg church. Keen to tap on this free manna, members of other churches began to flock to Seer 1’s temple – a factor that is said to have angered some prophets in the Pentecostal movement. In no time, he was mysteriously bundled on a plane destined to Mutalla Mohammed International Airport, Lagos never to be seen in Zambia again.

Whatever the argument, the fact is that prosperity gospel is big business in Zambia. If one dare argues, ask any of the growing slew of bible thumping cons masquerading as prophets. Among other practices of this phenomenon, staunch devotees are asked to cede a portion of their monthly earnings to their church in return for promises of a prosperous life after death. In other words, sweat your life to poverty on earth for your rewards are in heaven.

Prophet Bushiri poses next to his luxury cars

In the eyes of the state, Herbert Angel, a Zimbabwean – UK based prophet and his controversial spiritual son, Pastor Bushiri – his recent infamies aside- are also considered undesirables in Zambia. In the absence of facts, the duo’s crimes are hard to fathom. What is certain though is that they are both filthy rich having accumulated their wealth by among other things – harvesting the spoils of this phenomenon. They use mass internet platforms to lure new flock. Simply put, they have become the envy of their less sophisticated Zambian peers – bear in mind that this business is about numbers.

Back to their crimes, what did Angel and Bushiri ever do to earn the status of “undesirables?” I’m tempted to speculate for there is seldom smoke without fire. Did they ever covert a turf that’s become a fortress of the politically connected prophets of prosperity gospel? You be the judge.

Controversial dancer Zodwa Wabantu
Controversial dancer Zodwa Wabantu

Unlike the trio who gracefully opted against contesting their banning order, South African Vosho dancer, Zodwa Libram aka Zodwa Wabantu dared the state. She quietly sneaked into Zambia for a planned series of shows in Lusaka – not before authorities pounced on her soon after she landed at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport. After a brief detention, she was bundled onto the next available flight out of Zambia. The reason? Zodwa who is known for sensually gyrating her pelvics while standing on her torso barely covers her bottoms rendering her performances a danger to hapless Zambian mortals.

My jaw is still hanging. In the name of the father, the son and the holy spirit, is Zodwa’s dressing undesirable enough to warrant a state sanctioned deportation? Except for the fact that Zodwa barely covers her loins, how different is her dress code to that of Swililili hit maker, Mampi? Watching Mampi belt her music countless times in both Lusaka and Johannesburg, you could well argue that her scanty dressing is in fact more torturous to one’s imagination. Make no mistake, this comparison is not meant to demean the gist of this conversation. Pound for pound, two wrongs do make a right yet it’s the application of a different set of standard against the duo that is so naked to the eye.

Mampi

In the same breath, it is difficult to comprehend a recent decision to ban Somizi “Somgaga” Mhlongo – one of Africa’s most brilliant and proudly gay choreographers – from ever performing in Zambia. The state alleges that Somgaga is a person with questionable character – whose presence in Zambia could have compromised or diluted the morality and integrity of the country. Really?

What right has the state got to start policing a society into choosing which songs to listen to, which entertainer to watch or which pastor’s church to visit or sign up to?

For all its intentions, is the declaration of Zambia as a Christian state still relevant as it applies? For the bible, I read does not discriminate, my Christian faith does not judge and the God that I worship is rich in forgiveness. Most of all, I subscribe to the virtues of mutobe ilibwe.

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29 COMMENTS

  1. Edgar Lungu stole money from a widow and was consequently disbarred by LAZ. That is the moral compass for Zambia

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    • Obatala: Who doesn’t know that ECL lost his licence to practise law under those circumstances? It doesn’t matter in the PF, has never mattered and never wull matter. Why do u imagine it’s going to matter now?

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    • To the editor: It should read ” Is Zambia the gold standard…..” not ” Is Zambian the gold standard…”

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    • The declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation is worthless and is hindering our progress.
      In the Somizi case, as in others, government is violating international law for political gain. If Somizi practices homosexuality in Zambia he can be arrested. But simply to enter Zambia because you are of a different sexual orientation is not a crime and cannot in anyway degrade morals.
      We have media personalities like Hot FMs Mutale Mwanza who insult parents and are celebrated. Ministers circulate por.nography and all the minister can say is we are still investigating. The same god you claim to be representing will punish you for your double standards and using his name for political mileage.

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    • ECL
      Why should we wait for God to punish Sumaili.A simple,unsophisticated lost soul criminaly abusing her office.I suggest that it is Zambia that shall punish her for her naivity and incompetence.

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    • Iwe ka Mushota, this article is convoluted with no clear subject matter. The author appears to want use it as an opportunity to use any and every English word he’s ever heard of!!!!

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  2. What’s all this waffling.I need to rest, my Mifi hasn’t worked since Saturday. Now I understand why Vodafone were denied license to go full blast!They are useless.

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  3. Hi Chimwemwe!
    I think the title is wrong for the this article. Title would have made sense about your arguments had it been ‘Is the bible the Gold standard for moral correctness?’, since it is this book through which the majority of Zambians including you get their moral direction from.
    In your ambitious attempt to sound non-discriminatory, you’ve actually failed because for you Christians it’s morality and not the Law that takes precedence, and this is why every law you formulate is based on Christian morality forgetting that by it’s very nature morality is discriminatory.
    You shouldn’t teach against discrimination if are religious esp. Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew, unless you separate your religious views and influence from a body of laws that everyone should abide by.

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    • Dokowe, Arnacists would argue that law by its very nature is also discriminatory. Every Law, Code, Ethic is inherently discriminatory. It presupposes that there are two sides. I think your critique is misconceived.

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    • @Dokowe
      You will do well to re-read Chimwemwe’s thesis above. Chimwemwe has asked punchy questions some of which can be paraphrased as follows: Why was Zambia declared a Christian nation in the first place? Are those in power and their followers practicing the so called Christian values? Did the pronouncement of Zambia being a Christian nation bring any tangible change in moral behavior? Do Zambians steal, fornicate and covert less and judge others fairer now than say in the days of KK? In essence politicians know that the Christian label has had similar effects on our minds akin to the effects of delta (9)-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid and benzodiazapines.

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    • @Bauze. You are over-blowing it. The reason we have laws is because we want innocent citizens protected from especially the govt against discrimination and bias in matters of safety, health, education, health etc and any such matter that are there to help be the lives of the citizenry. For any society to have order, laws need to be put in place, but the laws should not be based on religious principles.

      @Warlord. I do not need to re-read. The point I’m making is that as long as the laws we have are going to be based on Christian dogma, political leaders will always show bias/prejudice/partiality against many issues. Our nations’ morality should not come from religious books as religion has shown to be discriminatory no matter the followers.

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    • @Dokowe, my point is, discrimination can be considered subjective from one society to another. The Zambian situation is unique to Zambia, even as our culture is unique us, just like the South African culture is unique to them.

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  4. The writer exhibits the characteristics of a trib.al, quite poisonous, watch what you eat!

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  5. i wonder whether the writer has children. he must encourage his children to be inspired by ZODWA AND SOMIZI, maybe we are all missing somthing here.

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  6. A nice read indeed.Add to the drama the various ethnic crimes carried out in various institutions and communities such as retirements in national and public interests and recruits.You have a serious concoction of moral campus.Fact is Christianity is used mostly as a cover up for crimes

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  7. As soon as I see that the famous book that was used to enslave Africa is quoted, I stop reading. When will you Africans learn that you had your own Gods before this was imposed on you? Africans are holier than thou and even using this same tool to steal from their African brethren.

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  8. Unfortunately some people think by imitating some foreign country then they’re on the right track. From a scholar’s point of view the Bible is a very poorly written book that can’t be quoted on topical issues. So in my village if you’re said to sleep with the same gender people will shun you, they’d think you’re very sick and a bad omen. And that’s who we are. It’s our identity. Try to get drunk in Saudi Arabia, you’ll know the limit of human rights!

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  9. These are the arguments of a total ***** who does not understand anything about scripture. God will always condemn and judge sin. The only time one will be put in right standing with God is if they confess their sin by accepting Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour and live to his will. Not the other way round. Why should we entertain homosexuals here to come and defile our land. No matter how talented they are they are still homosexual and their presence here is not wanted. And the ***** even praises them

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    • I hope South Africa reacts.The thieving leadership of PF still go to SA to receive medical services,fornicate,party and shop.SA show these morons the right values,ban them from entering SA since thieving is not allowed there.

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    • We saved South Africans from the Boers apartheid, they will ban who now. Most of their leaders and families took refuge in Zambia and other African states. Hope they do not forget that.

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  10. We seem to be drifting and this writer only finds it necessary to remind the minister and govt of the need to tread cautiously. We have laws that were in tandem with the golden rule ‘do unto others…and love thy neighbor…’As KK would tell you these are enough and encompassing of all the multilateral treaties we’re signatory to. It now appears we’re being led toward Christian fundamentalism(Mosaic laws) which border on Sharia and really smacks of dictatorship. Is this country ready to manage that discourse?

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  11. I don’t agree with PF most of the times but blocking that gay guy was the desire of the majority of Zambians in short PF just carried out the will of the people

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  12. Women some times can lead to the down fall of a nation. Read up on why the gay agenda is being pushed on the world by the west. Their numbers are not at a level that can compete with the rest of the planet. At times trying to imitate everything is a problem. The author of this article should be privy to common sense. Africa is protecting her population by not supporting misguided western values.

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