Post Editorial for Tuesday Feb 9, 2009
WHAT you get by dishonesty you may enjoy like the finest food, but sooner or later it will be like a mouthful of sand (Prov. 20:17).
The more easily you get your wealth and the power that goes with it, the less good it will do you (Prov. 20:21).
For Frederick Chiluba to say that he will sue The Post for calling him a thief once the legal process against him is over just goes to show that wicked people are controlled by their conceit and arrogance. Guilty people walk a crooked path; the innocent do what is right. Wicked people are always hungry for evil; they have no mercy on anyone.
Arrogance should be punished, so that people who don’t know any better can learn a lesson. If you are wise, you will learn when you are corrected. Pride leads to destruction, and arrogance to downfall.
Respected people do not steal; do not tell lies, and fools have nothing worthwhile to say. An intelligent and honest person learns more from one rebuke than a fool learns from being beaten a hundred times. Wicked people bring about their own downfall by their own evil deeds, but good people are protected by their integrity.
Honest people hate thieves, liars, but the words of wicked people are shameful and disgraceful. We are also reminded that “stupid people always think they are right. Wise people listen to advice” (Prov. 12:15). When you tell the truth, justice is done, but lies and theft lead to injustice. If you are good, you are guided by honesty. People who can’t be trusted are destroyed by their own dishonesty. Honesty makes a good man’s life easier, but a wicked man will cause his own downfall.
If you correct a conceited man, you will only be insulted. If you reprimand an evil man, you will only get hurt. But if you correct a wise man, he will respect you. Anything you say to a wise man will make him wiser. Sensible people accept good advice. People who talk foolishly will come to ruin. Someone who holds back the truth causes trouble, but one who openly criticises works for peace. Worthless, wicked people go around telling lies. They wink and make gestures to deceive you, all the while planning evil in their perverted minds, stirring up trouble everywhere.
It is not wise to commit any crime against the general public the way Chiluba did and think one can get away with it.
Thieves deserve to be cursed, because they have been the ruin of many people.
Chiluba can claim to be innocent, to be a free man following his highly questionable acquittal by Jones Chinyama and the refusal by his friend Rupiah Banda to have this acquittal appealed.
But nothing that comes from abuse of power, crookedness, dishonesty, manipulation, injustice and outright fraud will last. Chiluba’s claimed innocence today is not anchored on any justice or honesty but on corrupt protection from Rupiah. And when Rupiah disappears from the scene, the cloud that today shields Chiluba from justice will also disappear, leaving him open to prosecution.
There is nothing at law that will stop Chiluba’s case from being brought back to court after the corrupt protection he is today enjoying is done away with. Chiluba should therefore work very hard, break his small back to ensure that Rupiah retains power next year.
There is no honest government that will not take back Chiluba’s case to court because his freedom has been corruptly procured through the abuse of power. When honest people take over power, the first thing they should do is to ensure that the corrupt protection Chiluba is today enjoying is removed and he is sent back to court.
And we have no doubt, given the court record in the magistrates courts, that any fair-minded and impartial tribunal will find Chiluba guilty of corruption. So their claim that if there is change of government and Chiluba’s case is re-instated that will be an abuse of power, is nonsense.
The abuse of power is what they have done – to protect him from going to jail when the evidence is there to show that he is a thief who has stolen from the Zambian people; to dilly-dally in getting the London High Court judgment registered and enforced against Chiluba and his tandem of thieves.
That is what constitutes an abuse of power; reversing this and taking Chiluba back to court and ensuring that he gives back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar will not constitute an abuse of power.
It will be a legitimate and noble use of power. Those who commit crimes should not be shielded from justice by their friends who control state institutions.
Those who commit crimes and hide behind their powerful friends will be sorted out when their friends no longer hold that power. Protecting Chiluba from the proper course of justice is abuse of power; it is corruption on the part of all those involved.
As for Chiluba’s threats to sue us, we have challenged him before to do so. We were in court with him over this matter before, while he was still in power. We have told him several times that we are more than ready to receive any libel claim from him over his thefts.
As we have stated before, this is not a matter we can fail to argue and prove beyond any reasonable doubt that Chiluba is a thief because we have the evidence.
And in saying this, we are not relying on any judgment from any court or tribunal but on the evidence that is available both in these courts and in our hands. We will be more than happy if Chiluba took us to court. And Chiluba should stop lying that there are court proceedings against him that make it impossible for him to sue us because there is no pending case against him in our courts of law other than the registration of the London High Court judgment.
And this cannot be said to be a trial requiring evidence of his thefts. Let him just go to court so that the Zambian people can have another opportunity to see what this little crook did to their money, to their taxes – how he abused it and splashed it on designer clothes, girlfriends and so on and so forth. He shouldn’t think every magistrate or judge in this country will treat him the way Chinyama did. His day of reckoning is near. The freedom they have corruptly procured will soon evaporate like morning dew.
Chiluba should have listened to Levy Mwanawasa’s advice to return that which he had stolen and be forgiven. Forgiveness is easy when the violators see the pain they have caused us and sincerely apologise for their wrongdoing.
The trouble is that they may not always apologise. Some people just do realise how much pain they cause us; they are too proud to apologise. They feel that if they do, they diminish in our estimation, forgetting the truth that admitting a mistake is a sign of greatness. Humility is accepting reality: it is not wishing in vain to be different from what one is. It is truth, truth that sets us free.
Humility is not to go about saying, “I am innocent, I have been acquitted, I am a free man” when in your heart of hearts you know very well that you are not innocent, your acquittal has been corruptly procured, and that you actually stole. Humility is a virtue that is attractive.
False humility is disagreeable and puts people off. Who in this country doesn’t know that Chiluba is thief, that he stole and abused public funds? Who in this country does Chiluba think believes his story of innocence? Who in this country doesn’t know how Chiluba’s acquittal was procured and is being sustained?
There is no sensible alternative for any new government in this country but to reinstate Chiluba’s case so that justice is done. Chiluba’s case will certainly be revisited.