I strongly believe that we are all children of GOD. Last week a few CSOs met at Kapingila House to discuss the recently concluded National Dialogue Forum. Kapingila House are premises used by the Catholic Church and Organisation’s under it such as Caritas and therefore a place of GOD.
In their closing statement these CSOs said, “….. the NDF is an unfortunate undertaking that attempts to reduce the sanctity of the Constitution making process even to any ‘legislated Canteen’ in Chibolwa (in Lusaka) or Twapya (in Ndola) Compounds.” The people who appended their signatures to this statement were Eugene Kabilika for Caritas Zambia, Laura Miti for Alliance for Community Action (ACA), Nalucha Ziba for ActionAid Zambia (AAZ), McDonald Chipenzi for GEARS Initiative Zambia ,Bishop John H Mambo for Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA), Sara Longwe, Pamela Chisanga, Lewis Mwape and Linda Kasonde.
These Organisation’s who, in their various mission statements or declarations of values, claim to be looking after the interests of the down trodden and bottom of the economic and social ladder in Zambia, in fact look down on people from the compounds visualizing the poor majority as mere frequenteres of little canteens who do not understand our Constitution and laws.
The statement from “abena some of us” mockingly made against the poor majority really dampened my mood and I could not believe that people living comfortable lives in the high cost low density areas of Zambia could look down on and scoff at the majority of Zambians who live in the low cost high density urban areas and in the rural areas.
The Scriptures say in,
Judgments are prepared for scoffers, And blows for the back of fools.
Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended.
Action Aid Zambia talking about justice on its website says, “People who are living in poverty face injustice. Their voices are ignored and their rights aren’t respected.” So one assumes they would not advocate for ignoring the voices of the people from Chibolya and Twapya. After all the Action Aid International web page says,
“Our strategy is to build international momentum for social, economic and environmental justice, driven by people living in poverty and exclusion. In practice, this means working closely with people living in poverty”. I thought the people living n poverty are those in the canteens of Chibolya and Twapya so why scoff at them?
Amongst Caritas values it is stated, “Caritas works to enhance solidarity with the poor, seeing the world through their eyes, and recognising the interdependence of humanity.” Certainly mocking the poor of Chibolya and Twapya should not feature in statements they sign. By signing the statement at Kapingila it is clear that Caritas does not want to see the Constitution through the eyes of the people of Chibolya and Twapya compounds.
I thought that since Laura Miti of Alliance for Community Action was present at the meeting, she would have corrected the statement by reminding her other colleagues of what she said less than a year ago in July of 2018. In an interview Laura said, “We are a country that has become so consumed with material wealth….. There are very few people I know who are willing to sacrifice wealth. Right now, everybody is trying to advance personal interests. Whether it’s NGO or not, it’s a vehicle towards accumulating wealth…… The union leaders want to be rich, the church wants to be rich, the civil society wants to be rich, and the media also wants to be rich. Meanwhile we are completely ignoring these masses of people who are suffering.”
So I expected her to rebuke the likes of Eugene Kabilika and Nalucha Ziba by telling them, “We cannot mock and ignore the suffering masses of Chibolya and Twapya!” After all in the July 2018 interview she said, “There are enough poor people who think differently. Those are the ones we need to take with us in this movement. The poor are the majority in this country.” So why mock the majority?
As for Bishop John H Mambo of Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA), I expected that being a man of GOD and on Holy Ground, he would have sermonized to the group at Kapingila and referred them to scriptures such as Proverbs 11:12 says, “He who despises his neighbor lacks sense, But a man of understanding keeps silent.”
In addition the good Bishop should have read to his colleagues at Kapingila House Proverbs 9:12 which reads, “If you are wise your wisdom will will reward you, if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.” He should have implored, “Let us be wise and not mockers!”
It is clear that these institutions like Caritas, Action Aid, Alliance for Community Action (ACA), GEARS Initiative Zambia and Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA), whilst sitting at Kapingila House (which is a place of GOD), consider the people of Chibolya in Lusaka, Twapya in Ndola and indeed all compounds in Zambia to be children of a lesser god.
Sakwiba Sikota S.C