Questions of integrity

The conviction of Sport Deputy Minster Stephen Masumba for obtaining pecuniary advantage by false pretences did not come as a surprise, what was surprising and shocking was the fact that he was even considered for a senior Government position when his integrity was in question.

The President was aware that criminal charges had been preferred against Masumba thereby putting in issue his competence to hold a senior office of trust and yet he was still appointed.

The same is true of other very senior appointments that have been made in complete defiance of official records showing that the individuals concerned had committed serious offences for which they should be in prison.

The President was undoubtedly aware that a Judge in the Supreme Court found one of his very senior officers culpable of forgery- a criminal offence carrying many years of imprisonment if processed in the right manner.

As if that was not enough, one of the senior government officers has stolen huge amounts of money from the Zambian public in a sophisticated manner- a manner that was intended to provide such legal encumbrance and technical difficulties as to make it impossible to recover.

The lack of “conscience” among those appointed with serious integrity baggage overhang is quite shocking. Ordinarily they would have been expected to decline such appointments to prevent sullying of the administration with their obnoxious conduct, but perhaps this is too much to expect from crooks.

It was the expectation of many Zambians that President Sata would lead a Government that exhibited the highest level of moral probity, standards, honesty and integrity.

These virtues are attributes that come with the territory provided by a moral conscience of Christianity that promotes the observance of Gospel values. The President has stated from the outset that he would govern by the 10 commandments.

That is why the recruitment of individuals with criminal challenges has always been a matter of great concern. What is most frustrating is that instead of admitting their culpability, these sanctimonious crooks have clung to their position, even where a clear conflict of interest arises.

Honesty and integrity are the most important qualities and attributes of any leader. These serve as an assurance to the people they deal with. It ensures a `moral fibre and assurance underlying a character of the individual entrusted with public responsibility.

The very fact that such individuals shamelessly and without any remorse choose to cling to such positions even when they have serious credibility deficits is indicative of a weakness of character which renders them to wrong decision making. They cannot be trusted to do the right thing.

They may not take bribes directly but will most certainly use their authority to dispense favours against the established procedures. They will put self interest first before the call of duty.

Honesty and being honourable means being worthy of respect because the person’s actions are ethical, principled and moral. Equally integrity is telling oneself the truth and honesty is telling the truth to other people.