I would like to take advantage of this change of government and highlight one important thing concerning the role that we must play as good citizen and the role that the church must particularly play.
The church has a very important role to play in the life of a nation. Unfortunately in the politics of nowadays, the church is almost not even heard or when we hear about the church, she is often bias. In many instances we have seen the government of the day behaving completely in a non Christian way with the result that the rights of people are being violated, corruption is highly embraced, women and children are marginalised, opportunities are not shared equally, abuses of human rights are everywhere in the community, abuse of power, social injustice and other poisonous vices are spread.
The church as Martin Luther Jr. puts it, must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.
The church is supposed to be the voice of the voiceless. It must be concerned and not indifferent to the plight of people. Social change is always a baby of anger and courage. The church must be angry of any injustice and must be courageous enough to speak against any evil. Augustine Strong one of the great church fathers said, “Change has got two beautiful daughters, anger and courage”.
Many ministers of gospel, many church leaders are very afraid to speak the truth in love. The church is afraid of advising the government of the day. On this issue, Martin Luther Jr. one of the great devotees of civil right urges, “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
The church does not mind when the well being of people is at stake. The church is behaving like the priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. “The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But…the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
If, I don’t speak against this social injustice, against this abuse of power, against this abuse of human right what will happen to Zambian people? If I don’t stop and help my people, what will happen to them? These are the questions that every good citizen of a given country and of Zambia in particular must ask themselves rather than selfish questions. If I speak, what will happen to me? Will my job be safe? Will my position be safe? Will my family be safe? These self-cantered questions are the ones that make most of us not take an action for any cry for help. “Not only will we have to repent for the sins of bad people; but we also will have to repent for the appalling silence of good people” said Martin Luther. Many of us are not good citizen in the sense that we are cowards when it comes to critical issues that put the nation at stake.
“On some positions, Cowardice asks the question “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question “Is it politic?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.” Let us learn to take ownership of our country and our continent at large. I agree with Barack Obama that the future of African is up to Africans.