Analysis: EMELDA MUSONDA
A GREEK politician George Papandreou once said, â€œThere is this concept of politics as a dirty game. Itâ€™s a difficult game, but it doesnâ€™t have to be dirty.â€ I think this is what we need to bring to politics. I think politics around the world has very often been captured by big interests – â€˜lobbiesâ€™, they call them in the States.
And the third United States president, Thomas Jefferson, said politics is such a torment that I advise everyone I love not to mix with it.
Indeed, world over politics has been considered by many as a dirty, and sometimes dangerous, game because of how it has been infiltrated by wrong elements.
Todayâ€™s politics is considered by many to be synonymous with hate speech, violence, character assassination, ritual activities, dishonesty, corruption and greed, among others vices.
Indeed because of the negative perception of politics, many citizens, especially women, are usually excluded from political participation for fear of being entangled in the so-called â€œdirty gameâ€.
However, what should be known is that politics on its own is a noble profession.
The word politics, which is derived from the Greek term politikos, means relating to citizens.
Some schools of thought define politics as the practice and theory of influencing other people on a global, civic or individual level.
Politics also refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance – organised control over a human community, particularly a state.
In a nutshell, politics is a noble profession whose objective is to harmonise human relations.
It is for this reason that people who pursue politics should be of noble characters with sole intentions of contributing to a better society.
Politics is a lucrative profession which tends to attract even those whose intentions are purely to serve personal interests.
The problem therefore is not politics but some of the political players who have hijacked this noble profession, who see it as a means to amass wealth.
This explains why people are ready to do anything, including shedding blood, just to get political power.
We know of countries that have plunged into civil wars due to struggle for power.
During the just-ended general elections, we saw how some politicians were ready to engage in violence and even shed blood if that was the only means for them to ascend to power.
We also witnessed a lot of hate speech, mudslinging and violence by some politicians.
The kind of politics we are witnessing today just indicates the spiritual and moral bankruptcy of some of the politicians who have unfortunately overshadowed our political scenes.
The call therefore by President Lungu, for the Church to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to politicians, is indeed necessary if sanity is to be restored in our political dispensation.
The Church has a vital role to point society to the transformative teachings of Jesus Christ.
While politics aims to harmonise relations, Christian values are the firm foundation on which these relations can be established.
Actually, the first American president, George Washington, confessed that it is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.
It is also evident that President Lungu has grasped this revelation. This is why he is keen on entrenching the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation and Christian values.
One just needs to imagine the kind of political environment and harmony we would have if all politicians firmly embraced Christian values of love, peace, forgiveness, accountability, honesty and respect for each other.
If only we could have more politicians who uphold biblical teachings, then we would not have the problems of hate speech, covetousness, violence and character assassination, among others.
President Lungu has set a firm example of how those who follow Christian values can change the political landscape. At the height of provocation and humiliation by some political opponents, the head of State exhibited exemplary restraint and tolerance, which points to his strong Christian values.
I believe President Lungu was putting in practice the biblical teachings in Proverbs 15:1, which says: â€œA gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.â€
During his inaugural speech, the President promised that he would not settle scores with anyone, thereby abiding by the biblical principle of forgiveness and living in peace with everyone.
If politics is to reflect its true nature as a noble profession, we need more politicians to follow the footsteps of President Lungu who has resolved to live and rule by biblical principles.
It is, however, encouraging that this time around, we have seen more of newly-appointed ministers and government leaders committing themselves to God as they take up their new roles.
Two weeks ago, honourable Harry Kalaba was a guest at my church, Shalom Embassy, pastored by Apostle Sunday Sinyangwe.
We also read of other ministers who have been to various churches such as the United Church of Zambia and the Catholic Church to be prayed for as they take on their new roles for the next five years.
This, indeed, is a sure sign that more politicians are coming to the realisation of Mr Washington, that it is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.
While the Presidentâ€™s call is for the Church to preach the gospel to politicians, it is also the responsibility of politicians themselves to seek the wisdom of God for their personal good and the people they serve.
The author is Zambia Daily Mail editorials editor.
Analysis: EMELDA MUSONDA