By Gregory Gondwe
I have closely followed Fr. Frank Bwalya’s tireless efforts since he started his ‘political’ career. One thing I have admired of him is his courage to stand up and challenge the wrongs in the authority. His obstinate persistence in doing what he believed was right, despite facing sanctions and losing his privileges of a public practicing clergy man, was so courageous of him. Most of all, his contribution to the success of the PF government is another thing to note.
When I listened to his interview on Radio Phoenix were he indirectly declaring himself as the Zambian ‘Messiah’, I questioned that revelation. If he compares himself to Jesus, you would note that what Fr. Bwalya was doing was in contradiction to what Jesus did. To those that read the bible, there was never a time when Jesus self-declared himself as the Messiah. When Pilate asked him if he was the Messiah, “his response was, “It is you who said I was”. The disciples of John the Baptist asked him too, and he answered, “the blind can see, the lame can walk; happy are those who have no doubts on me”. If anything, it was the evil spirits he rebuked that recognized him, “truly, this one is the son of God”. At many times, he commanded then to remain quiet. In all these responses, Jesus was never explicit of him being the Messiah.
From the look of things, Fr. Bwalya’s plans were pre-meditated since his time as a priest. This he said it in his interview as the thought he had when he first gathered with the people in the cemetery. He looked at the crowd and desired worship; a contrary thing to that of Jesus and the temptations in the garden of Gethsemane. His time of fasting may just have been a disguise (Which I wish is not). Everybody knew what he was going to say after his time of prayer. It was going to be very interesting if he came out of prayer saying that God had asked not to aspire for presidency at all. I am sure that he would have gained more genuine respect for ‘his’ followers. (FYI, he should not be deceived that his followers, even those he mentioned from the opposition party, respect him. They are just opportunists, eyeing for a position when he becomes president).
As mentioned above, I envy Fr. Bwalya’s courage so much, but his decisions, and listening to his interview make me doubt him. The campaigns that Fr. Bwalya rendered to PF government do not reflect what he is saying today. It is hardly two years that he now turns against the PF government that he strongly supported. He is now seeing sense in MMD and UPND. I do not remember him campaigning for UPND or MMD. Yet today he is talking about Nevers Mumba and HH. Do we vote for a Party or an individual? Would I be wrong if I questioned Fr. Bwalya’s intention to form a political party as only a way of splitting the votes?
If Fr. Bwalya really wants to serve the people of Zambia, he has to serve them in all humbleness, just like John the Baptist did. Although people wanted to declare John the Baptist as the Messiah, he denounced that saying, “I Baptize you with water, but somebody greater than me will come and baptize you with the Holy Spirit”. That response and humbleness made John the greatest prophet of all. This is what we want to see in Fr. Bwalya, a well known John the Baptist, as he called himself, yet now aspiring to become Jesus. What will stop him from aspiring to become God the Father? (parody). Not suggesting that he should become president, but I think Fr. Bwalya should be humble enough to remain the John the Baptist that we will miss when he becomes Jesus. He should be contented with being John the Baptist, unless he declares that he lied to us that he was John the Baptist.
Above all, he should not wait until he becomes a president that he could make things better; the kingdom of heaven is both at hand, and is yet to come. Just like he challenged the MMD government, let him also challenge the PF government, and build not a better political party, but a better government regardless of what party or who rules. As Zambians, we are not crying for a beautiful lavishing government, but good governance.