Institutions and the submarine culture


Submarines were definitely very useful for the warring parties during the World Wars.

It is clear to me that the submarines were developed and managed to achieve a certain well defined objective.

One of the objectives was to cause havoc and mayhem in the enemy’s camp. The enemy being the other side, which had to be destroyed or defeated! Talking about enemies, Zulu king Shaka is said to have said that “never leave an enemy behind”.

King Shaka’s postulation, fortunately or unfortunately, is in sharp contrast to the rationale behind the Geneva Convention, which seeks to uphold the human rights of combatants. Details are available in any good library or the Red cross website.

Today, I wish to put in the public place for debate on whether or not our institutions can survive in a submarine culture and whether it is correct to look at a political adversary as an enemy?  I discuss this within the acceptable purview of human rights standards that clearly uphold individual liberties. It is equally important for me to state categorically that there is no right in this world which stands alone and without duties and responsibilities. Let’s talk if you know of any!

One of my law professors once responded to a clarification from a student, that, yes, you can think the way you want but in whatever you do, do not introduce unreasonableness. (He actually used a stronger word).

The Submarine Culture: My reference to the submarine culture is in  instances where individual or personal objectives are so strong that they will stop at nothing but to seek survival using any means possible.

In the context of wars, submarines are not intended to be identified. So, if they are effective and efficient, they cannot be detected. In the case of our institutions, the submarines, which often wrongly gives rise to witch-hunting, can cause such problems as internal haemorrhage.

I have argued and I submit the argument for public scrutiny and interrogation that not a single soul on this earth is doing work without choices.

If you really do not like what you are doing, you have a choice to stop and to argue that stopping will cause other problems is simply illogical and defeats national development.

When you embark on a journey to go to Ndola, Kabwe, Solwezi, Chipata, Mongu, Livingstone, Chinsali (Lusaka being the original destination), Mansa and Kasama, the intention is to arrive, even when you have a puncture. Of course, for an opportunist any journey to any destination is no big deal!

So when you take a job in any institution, you commit to do only your work and nothing else. If an employee begins to give away information to unauthorized individuals, that employee is definitely not suitable for the job they hold. If they insist they must act illegally and see nothing wrong in promoting an illegality, my view is that they must be ready for the consequences! As alluded above, I am painfully aware of the side effects of witch-hunting and the cure or panacea really is personal responsibility.

Witch-hunts are one of the consequences of a submarine culture. Those with personal scores as I argued last week will use genuine or legal and legitimate concerns to either settle scores or advance a particular agenda, wherein a particular officer is perceived as an obstacle. Let me elucidate further: universally, one plus one is two.

So, if one plus one gives you a result of three or another, there is reason for concern and therefore serious analysis. If it is a journey to Kasama for the by-election or whatever, a stop in Kapiri mposhi for a meal or whatever, cannot be marked as a trip which has been successfull. It is not until you reach Kasama that you would have arrived and therefore successful. So, an officer whose work is similar to a submarine effect is neither an asset nor a useful individual.

Lest I am misunderstood, there is a difference between whistle blowing and the act of economic sabotage or plunder!

The challenge which we face  is that we exist in a society of laws. We also live in a country which has embraced democratic values, which must never be confused with lawlessness, as in the mistaken view that Parliament should not enact legislation.

This is not only an absurd postulation but a clear gravitation towards anarchy.  Anarchy, whether politically driven or not offends and injures our PEACE BRAND.

Political adversaries or Political enemies?

Back to basics: In politics, there are no enemies but political adversaries. Just like the law as we know it, politics represents a dynamic field, where what was inconceivable yesterday, becomes an option today.

Some people will argue that politics is a dirty game. I do not agree that it is a dirty game. There is a difference between a player who is playing dirty because they choose to and a player who is playing according to the rules of the game. What may approximate the truth is that in  politics, there are no written strict rules.  This does not mean that there are no rules!

It is the absence of strict written rules which gives rise to the law of the jungle. In the law of the jungle, what counts is not necessarily merit but what may be called “dirty options”.  It is dirty to tell a lie that you can never stand defend. It is dirty to undermine an office holder for whatever reason. It is dirty to injure another person’s reputation.

It is the shadowy tendencies that tend to give rise to enmity other than civilized politics. Instead of criticizing a policy, you go all out to unleash innuendos and language whose effect is generating anger against an adversary.

I have said before and I will say it now that the emphasis of the One Zambia, One Nation motto is not only timely but essential. If practiced, no one will see the other person as an enemy.

Let me caution: The way we present arguments and facts sometimes is so jaundiced such that arriving at a sober conclusion becomes an impossibility.

Let’s not forget that  generally, emotions tend to be stronger that reason. I say this to provoke debate. How many times have we abdicated our civic duties to a newspaper’s opinion?

Just like this piece, an opinion remains an opinion. You can choose to opinionate by way of vicious insulting language or you can choose to be a carrier of civilized and objective opinions, that do not create anger and acrimony.

The latter is a healthy field for civilized politics. Posterity will show that all Zambians of what-ever political persuasion, have a duty towards Zambia.

The effect of making the other person an enemy is polarization and an insult to nationhood.

It is my submission that the political playing field is that of brothers and sisters. Those who cherish in promoting strife are not only a minority but clearly a seed that seeks to undermine democratic achievements.

We as a matter of choice, elected to go back to plural politics. In this our plural politics, we need a great degree of maturity. We need to safeguard our institutions from the effects of the submarine culture. We need to be proud of who we are as a people. Our National Anthem has relics such as “proud and free”.

At this juncture, it is only fair and only reasonable to acknowledge the role that our founding fathers played.

Many went to prison not because they wanted to invite pain but they had their focus on a Zambia which is free from trappings of external controls.

It is neither reasonable nor fair to argue that a Zambia which is battered by manufactured political enemies is better than a Zambia which has normal economic difficulties, as any other nation in the world. Let’s  debate and thanks for all comments.