Thursday, June 20, 2024

This is what happens when a Nation Loses its Compassion


By Fred M’membe President of the Socialist Party

The destruction of our people’s homes in Chingola is not a small thing and shouldn’t be played down. It shouldn’t be hidden in the afterthought of DMMU small reliefs of foodstuffs and promises of new land reallocations.

Without compassion, everyone is worse off.

What happened in Chingola is what happens when a government loses its moral footing, when elected officials seem to be operating without compassion. This is what happens when our politicians and their officials lack any semblance of compassion. Destroying more than 300 homes inflicts terrible and needless trauma and stress on families, especially on young children and that hampers and damages their development, causing long-term damage.

This destruction of people’s homes is morally unconscionable. That such egregious actions be employed in a nation that calls itself Christian and is supposed to put human beings above all other considerations is unjustifiable on any level. When compassion is absent, all suffer, including those who withhold it. What happens to us when there is such an extreme deficit of compassion in certain quarters of our country? I am convinced that harm results for all.

We know that compassion enhances the welfare of those who receive compassion and benefits those who are compassionate. It even benefits those who simply observe an act of compassion. Compassion is one of those experiences that deeply affects us —whether we give it, receive it, or observe it. When compassion is absent, all suffer, including those who withhold it.

We also know that being compassionate upholds our moral principles. When we restrain compassion we feel that our moral identity is compromised. That’s because compassion is central to being fully human. It is the key to reducing systemic oppression and nurturing a culture of respect, civility, and belonging.

Please know that I am not a moral philosopher. Yet understanding the nature of integrity and morality has been an important part of my life.

When I was an undergraduate university student, I discovered that there are many moral platforms. Ideas of what is right and wrong vary from culture to culture, even from person to person. But the Catholic social teachings have also given me a different way to understand human dignity, and integrity, one that looks at it through the lens of suffering. When we cause suffering to others or ourselves, our integrity is violated. When we alleviate the suffering of others, our integrity is affirmed.

At this time in our country, when we are witnessing an unbridled capitalist approach to life, we need strong moral sensitivity. We need the ability to recognise moral violations and discern which government actions are morally justifiable and which are not. We also need a large dose of moral nerve, a term used to describe someone who has non-negotiable virtue when standing above the abyss of harm.

If we do not take action against these abuses, if we hide out in apathy and do not manifest moral nerve, we will experience profound moral suffering. This is the harm caused by actions taken in our name that transgress the tenets of basic human goodness. Whether we uphold our values and ethical principles or not is what affirms or destroys our integrity, and thus our character.

As I consider what is happening in our country now, I believe our standing as a Christian nation is being seriously compromised by a serious deficit of compassion and a pervasive absence of integrity. We are facing a moral crisis that is reprehensible. We need to manifest moral nerve and compassion, now, for the sake of all.


  1. Where in the world would you have houses built illegally on an airstrip, airport property.
    People get real.
    Off course they should be removed.
    Lawlessness cannot be allowed to continue

  2. Let them build on Meembe’s premises. Politicizibg an illegality. Those people acknowledged they settled there illegally without any papers and are now appealing to govt for alternative legal land; which the area MP has managed to solicit.

  3. The more this Mmembe guy is writing these useless articles the more he is becoming Sean Tembo 2.
    He is doing himself a de-service, come 2024, he will be like ‘ Just another Zambian Politician”, and KBF will fill the gap.

  4. These people illegally built their houses on an airstrip/ airport property. If that’s case, it’s hard to reach a compromise and let them stay in an area that’s not designated as residential. And who assigned them this land in the first place? Of they just started building without legal papers? That’s lawlessness. People should learn to respect the law and do things in the right/legal way. Either way, a little help in discounted land allocation to help them out would be in good faith.

  5. illegality is illegality .
    But Mmembe has been blinded by his desire to assume power.
    He cant see that the same PF he is now supporting are responsible for this illegality through their criminal party cadres.
    Learn to call a spade a spade.

  6. Why did council have to wait until structures were completed? Demolish? At the expense of small children who do not understand why pain is being inflicted on them surely!

  7. Where was the Chingola municipal council when these structures started? There was the town clerk for Chingola?The blame goes to Chingola Municipal council and the council was sleeping or the council connived with ward councillor to do wrong thing. If council was not sleeping this nonsense could have been prevented. Reprimand the council ward councillor

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