By ENOCK CHIKAMBA (published in Times of Zambia)-THIS year’s Independence theme, “Celebrating 45 years of Independence in the spirit of reconciliation and good neighbourliness” makes it an opportune time for the nation to reconcile with former president, Frederick Chiluba.
Does the Bible lack any solution to man’s problems under the sun? In James 1 vs. 5, the voice of God says, “if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives all liberally and without reproach and it will be given to him.” And again if a man wants justice the Bible teaches us that he is a just God and Saviour.
I see escalation of Dr Chiluba’s acquittal leading to violence and bloodshed if leaders of this nation cultivate the spirit of accusation in darkness. We need God’s light to shine upon us because He knows everything about Dr Chiluba and He knows everything about the leadership in our nation. If indeed as we say we are Christians, let us pause a little and consult God our creator who is just and his word on justice is decisive and permanent if only we can listen and obey.
Before I quote God’s commands I wish to appeal to all the leaders in the nation whom I know are Christians to obey the instructions of the supreme law of God. The leaders are past, present and future presidents of Zambia, the cabinet and secretary to the cabinet, chief justice, speaker of the National Assembly, members of Parliament and leaders of the opposition political parties.
Other presidents of associations such as Law Association of Zambia (LAZ), trade union leaders, the police and intelligence chiefs, (even the Task Force chairperson and the prosecutors) media heads (even the Post Newspapers editorial team that often quotes from the Bible) non-governmental organisations (NGOs) leaders, the Church of Christ leadership, public and private sector chief executives and all citizens of Zambia who are Christians. If among those that I have listed, are non-Christians, please forgive me for the inclusion.
The first command to us Christians is taken from Revelation 2 verse 4. The risen Christ had praised the Church of Ephesus but he said, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left first love.”
In 1991, the people of Zambia expressed love for Dr Chiluba and they elected him as president. And Dr Chiluba loved the people of Zambia. Today Chiluba is regarded as the enemy of Zambia. “Jesus asks, where have we fallen? We have fallen because Dr Chiluba is alleged to have plundered the finances of the people of Zambia while in office as president. But Jesus has a solution to this fall because he knows the motives of everybody who was involved. God knows the decisions Dr Chiluba made in that office in the interest of the people or for himself. The command is taken from Luke 6 verse 27.
“But I say to you who hear: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” If indeed Dr Chiluba is our enemy we must love him, so commands Jesus. And if Dr Chiluba has identified some leaders who are his enemies, verse 28 commands him “bless those who curse you and pray for those who spitefully use you”.
That Jesus command takes care of how in Zambia we have left the first love. But did Jesus refer us to love? Reasons are obvious, love suffers long and is kind, does not envy, love is not puffed up, love does not behave rudely, does not rejoice in iniquity, bears all things and is not provoked.
Perhaps Dr Chiluba is behaving the way you see him do today because he doesn’t feel loved, he is isolated and his past not appreciated. He behaves rudely because he has no love for the leaders of this nation who also feel hurt by Dr Chiluba’s behaviour.
However, Jesus still commands us in John 15 vs. 12 “This is my commandment that you love one another as I loved you.” If we agree and obey that command from now on we shall find ways of resolving the acquittal case will come to an end. What follows next?
The second commandment refers to God’s law of “reconciliation and forgiveness”. In Mathew 6 vs. 14, and I quote “For if you forgive men their trespasses your heavenly father will also forgive you”. How does this come about? Jesus again teaches the process of going about it in Mathew 5 vs. 23-26. “When you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother then…agree with your adversary quickly while you are on the way with him lest you adversary delivers you to the judge.” This verse is talking about how the warring partners can effect reconciliation, which leads to forgiveness.
It is a pity that this scripture was not followed right from the beginning. Late president Levy Mwanawasa and Dr Chiluba who were brothers in Christ could not follow this instruction. I later learnt that some Christians were calling on Dr Chiluba to apologise (confess) to the nation in order that he might be forgiven. This was not done. There after as Jesus said in the scriptures I have quoted above. Dr Chiluba was subjected to eight years of court proceedings resulting in the controversial acquittal.
Thirdly, this solution to Dr Chiluba’s case was missed but God has many solutions to our problems. In Luke 23 vs. 34, He was still on the cross bleeding on the hands and feet when he declared forgiveness to all those who did it.
You will note that no priest, scribe or Pharisees went to confess to Jesus while he was on the cross and before he uttered the declaration. Jesus simply forgave them out of love. But we see that in 70 AD those who were forgiven but because of their stiff necks to the word, God brought great punishment to Jerusalem.
The people of Zambia need no apology from Dr Chiluba in order to forgive him. They should simply release him to God who is faithful and a just judge. God has all the knowledge about Dr Chiluba’s case. So as Christians, we are commanded to forgive Dr Chiluba and without his apology. This is the word of God.
Fourthly, human judgment has an element of doubt and cannot always be perfect. Today, some judges have used wrong evidence to convict innocent people and acquit criminals. This happened even during the time of Jesus. Instead of acquitting Jesus, the judge acquitted Barabas who was a criminal (Luke 23 vs. 24-25).
They said, “Rabbi this woman was caught in adultery and Moses commanded us that such should be stoned. What do you say?” The Bible says that Jesus did not answer but started to write on the floor and when he was pressured, he raised his head and said,” He who is without sin among you let him throw a stone at her.” The leaders, convicted by their conscience went out one by one, (John 8 vs. 4-9).
That was God’s judgment expressing God’s law of justice because those who were bent on showing the public that they were innocent were in fact as sinful as the woman they accused of adultery. Jesus as God reviewed their weaknesses. So the human law of justice never be comparable to God’s permanent law of truth and justice. Let us be humble to listen to the laws of God because in them lies the peace of Zambia.
When human laws fumble with justice, our option is God’s law that administers the right justice based on love and forgiveness. I wish to appeal to the people of Zambia that even though we are bent on teaching Dr Chiluba a lesson we know our heart of the hearts that God knows our weaknesses and given an opportunity to be in State House we may commit the same mistake.
The reasons are obvious. Many Christian leaders who aspire to the office of the president don’t know the situation they will find at State House or the situation that shall find them there and they will have to make decisions in order to save Zambia from danger.
However, the future presidents of Zambia should not take the people of Zambia for granted because God almighty reveals human secrets whether they are good or bad.
But the people of Zambia must know that the element of self in man shall always be there because God said love your neighbour as yourself.
There is demonstration of this saying in the Bible. Samuel told King Saul that God had found a man after his own heart. What a thing to say of man that God knew had evil thoughts from youth (Genesis 8 Vs 21).
And indeed sooner than later David coveted Uriah’s wife Bathsheba and impregnated her, Later in trying to cover up his adultery, David killed Bathsheba’s husband. Yes, the first child who was born was killed by God. But the second child from Bathsheba was allowed to live and note this, God himself named this child Solomon.
No human being can measure the standard of thoughts of God except God himself .So because God is faithful and just he pardoned David simply because he confessed his sin. And he was anointed of God. (You can read the full story from 2 Samuel 11 and 12).
We must be thankful to what the judiciary has done in upholding justice in Zambia over the years. God knows and so even as we read in the newspapers some leaders accusing President Banda of having influenced the outcome God knows better and he will judge according to his will.
What the Bible teaches us is that Gods manifests judgments in men and women that he has anointed and appointed to preside over the affairs of his people. We must respect them because God who appointed them must give them wisdom to make the right decisions.
Are Christians in all the churches praying for Mr Rupiah Banda for wisdom as we are commanded in 1 Timothy 2 vs. 1-2? Or do we only condemn him? I will be very happy to learn that those clergymen who insult past presidents including the present president Mr Banda pray for them as commanded.
Stretching this acquittal against the background of mysterious judgments is not for man to assess. If God’s hand is in it even the appeal may not go through,
What next? The people of Zambia may lose confidence in the judiciary seeing that their desire will not have been met.
I say to Dr Chiluba, You too ask for their forgiveness so that they can forgive you. I know that you will be the saddest man on planet earth to see the people of Zambia that you loved so much, that you declared Zambia as a Christian Nation for their salvation in the next world shed their blood over your case when it is in your power to stop it with the word of God and the Holy Spirit who dwells in you. I know with my whole heart that you are a wise man who is able to yield to God’s wisdom.
In conclusion the Bible which is the spoken word of God has commanded every Christian and everyman he has created to love, to forgive and reconcile with one another in order to obtain God’s blessings. In this case God is saying people of Zambia rekindle your former love for Dr Chiluba and forgive him.
Again I say may God’s light of Love shine upon the totality of leadership of Zambia and the light of forgiveness shine upon the leadership of Zambia and the people of Zambia in general so that the acquittal case can come to rest with the God’s laws of reconciliation.