Asked to clarify his statement in an interview the following day, Edgar said: “Sharing of spoils (in the ruling party) refers to power. When you have power, you have a say on the advancement of the economy. That is what I meant…that benefit can be personal, it can also be national and unless you are privileged to hold certain positions, you may not have influence. So for me, there is some personal gain to be attained by being in public service. There is also public good to be delivered. At the end of the day, you can’t split these two and say you can only serve as a servant without having a consideration given back to you…No one should cheat you that, ‘I am in politics because I want to be a servant’. We are there as personal beings who want to advance themselves as we provide service. And as you share this political power, you find that people position themselves. You think if you are a minister of justice, your voice and contribution will be much more than that of your counterpart at works and supply? That is why you find that conflict is an ongoing process.”
Under Edgar, it’s permissible for one to use his influence, public office to enrich oneself. And accordingly, in the short period Edgar has been President, his declared wealth has more than doubled. How did this happen? Is it a miracle? Magic – abracadabra! No. It’s not a miracle or magic. It’s also not from his earned income paid by the Zambian taxpayer. It’s from ‘gifts’, deals. And who are these people who are so ready to give him money that they were not able to give him when he was in Chawama? It’s people who, in one way or another, are doing business with government. What does that amount to? Can this be said to be an acceptable way of a leader in government increasing his wealth?
But Edgar is not alone in this. Very few of those in government today – politicians and civil servants – are not making money the Edgar way. Even Kambwili himself will have serious difficulties escaping this. It has become a normal way of doing business in Zambia today. And that is why all sorts of crooks, dealers are today seeking public office – they want to become president, ministers, members of parliament, mayors, councillors and so on and so forth. This is not leadership. It’s banditry. It’s gross abuse of public office, power to enrich oneself. It’s a crude and very primitive form of corruption that has become ‘acceptable’ and institutionalised in Zambia today.
Do these people really understand the purpose of political leadership? Is Edgar’s definition of leadership correct and acceptable? When the purpose of political leadership is not clear, the abuses we are today witnessing are inevitable.
The highest mode of corruption is the abuse of public office, power to enrich oneself. And where power is abused, there is manipulation instead of inspiration.
And as we are today experiencing, anyone entrusted with power will abuse it if not also animated with the love of truth and virtue, whether he be a Christian, or one of those who don’t go to church.
We believe the root of all the evil things happening in this country today is abuse of power.
And what we fear most is power with impunity. We fear abuse of power, and the power to abuse. This government under Edgar’s leadership is so out of control. It is so bloated and infested with fraud and deceit and corruption and abuse of power. Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction. We are warned in Luke 12:15: “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
A government is corrupt when the decisions and actions of its leaders are strictly personal, benefit-driven, not driven to serve the best interests of its people. And among a people generally corrupt, good governance, rule of law cannot long exist.
But no government power can be abused long. The people will not bear it. There is a remedy in human nature against abuse that will keep us safe under every form of government. To oppose corruption in government is the highest obligation of patriotism.