A passionate case for retaining the "Christian nation" declaration in the Constitution by Charles Kachikoti, the Chief Policy Analyst for Press and Public Relations at State House. There's a lot at stake here, not least because it is penned by the President's Number 1 adviser! Although the topic itself is vitally important, of equal importance is the quality of the argument, as it tells us something about the quality of advice the President regularly receives. Read on..
Uphold Country's Crucial Covenant With God, Charles Kachikoti, Times of Zambia, Commentary :
"You, my God and Lord, are my shield, on You I rely. On You I will build; never leave me,So that I may remain pious, your servant at all moments,dispelling the tyranny that wounds my heart." That is not a Church hymn or contemporary spiritual song; it is a stanza of the national anthem of The Netherlands.
The flourishing nations that Zambians admire; peoples that win acclaim in Africa for their massive scientific and technological advancement, hemispheres that draw accolades in endless ripples among Third World countries for their colossal economic prosperity started out on a biblical foundation. They were Christian nations founded on the values and precepts of the word of God, time-tested and weather-proven teachings. They accelerated and matured on a body of life truths that imbued in them the attitude and mentality that has shaped their entire ethos to the solid form that we in the Third World now all aspire to.
The whole system of governance that the West is grounded on, with judiciary, legislature and executive arms of government, the democratic ideal we are pursuing after, was given to them by the Bible which states the following about the living God in Isaiah 33:22 - "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is He who will save us." This is precisely why the covenant that Zambia entered into with God, as of December 29, 1992, must be allowed to hold.
The positive results of such a position are visible beyond both reasonable and unreasonable doubt in the high-strung economies and robust political arrangements in the West.
New Zealand prays in the first stanza of one its two national anthems:
"God of nations! at Thy feet
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our Free Land.
Guard Pacific's triple star,
From the shafts of strife and war, Make her praises heard afar, God defend New Zealand."
The Greek national anthem describes the land as "divinely restored."
The English anthem God Save the Queen declares "on thee our hopes we fix," and prays that God arises and scatters England's enemies "and make them fall, confound their politics, God save us all."
African states like Kenya have national anthems that are prayers: "O God of all creation, Bless this our land and nation. Justice be our shield and defender, May we dwell in unity, Peace and liberty," as in the opening stanza.
The Nigerian anthem is a prayer with a significant line in stanza two: "Help our youths the truth to know." These are the youth who are now mature and running incredibly massive churches and businesses in that country and beyond.
The composition of the Zambian National Anthem was centred on the nationwide consciousness of God. It was premised on Biblical expressions of praises to God as found in the English language, notably the 1611 King James Version of the Bible. God was recognised to be the maker and keeper of Zambia and He was invited to bless the great nation. It was around the consciousness of God that this anthem was crafted.
The name Zambia was derived from Zambezi, the name of the fourth largest river on the continent of Africa. The name Zambezi derives from three ethnical expressions originating among the peoples of North-Western Province.
'Yambeji' means 'the best of everything'.
'Mwambeji' means 'river of God'.
'Nzambe Nzi' means 'God come'.
And this is a river that practically embraces the country on its way to the Indian Ocean. By interpretation, "Zambia" would mean: 'God come and bring to us the best of everything through the river God'. Scottish explorer David Livingstone, after whom the tourist capital of Zambia was named, described the Zambezi River as a 'Gospel Highway' when he first saw it. Even the first three presidents of Zambia had names of significant biblical import (David, Jacob and Levy) given the foundational roles they played in their time.
It was from this historical platform that Zambia was to become an oasis of peace in the southern African region. Zambia attained her independence in October 1964 and played a dominant role in securing the liberation of colonies that surrounded it until the early 1990s.
Zambia hosted the following liberation movements that are now ruling parties in their countries: the South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO) of Namibia; FRELIMO of Mozambique; Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) of Zimbabwe; Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) of Angola and the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa.
In the 1980s Zambia hosted up to 500 ,000 refugees from some of these countries at such locations as Ukwimi in Eastern Province and Maheba in North Western Province. In spite of these factors, in which Zambia suffered from violent incursions by the Selous Scouts under Southern Rhodesia Prime Minister Ian Smith, Renamo forces opposed to Frelimo in Mozambique and Unita rebels fighting the MPLA government in Angola, Zambia did not slip into a civil war or erupted into some form of nationwide bloodshed. Not even the food riots of 1986 and 1990 or the multi-party revolution of 1991 plunged Zambia into chaos.
All this is proof of a country developing and growing under unusual conditions of national peace, attributable to divine providence.
The Christian Declaration does not suggest that all the people living in the various parts of the nation are Christians. Neither does it imply that they all attend Church. The declaration is a vision statement and values statement all rolled into one. It espouses a national vision, a people's mission and family values as encapsulated in the lyrics of the national anthem.
In truth, it is the national anthem that declared Zambia a Christian nation before Dr Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba did. It is a statement of strategic intent. It is a rallying point giving credence to national development plans and bringing moral sensitivity into governance. It is Zambia's view of the future.
The reasons for the declaration are historical, seen as follows: Zambia stands geographically at the heart of the southern African region. Likewise Zambia is centrally strategic to the goals and intents of corporate business, religion and even international crime. That being the case, it makes tremendous sense to position Zambia in clear ideological and cultural terms if only to define important parameters before external ideologies and cultural influences do so.
Two major telecommunications projects are underway in Africa, as two examples of the strategic importance of Zambia's geo-location.
Seacom is a mostly American project providing an undersea cable from northern to Southern Africa along the Indian Ocean coastline. ast African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) is another project that has brought together national telecoms providers in all the countries in the eastern half of Africa. The EASSy member countries - who have invested money of USD$270 million in the project - will connect into the underwater cable running from Djibouti to Mthunzini near Durban in South Africa. For nations south of the Zambezi, Zambia is the vital gateway to the east and the north and vice-versa. Zambia will connect its own national optic fibre network to those of neighbouring states into the EASSy network.
This is a reflection of business thinking in various other economic sectors such as mining and banking in which considerable foreign investment has been noted.
That certain religions aim for political control of nations is not a secret. Religions opposed to Christianity have poured disapproval and ridicule on the declaration because it has served to complicate their goals and intents. Many of them have tried to sway large swathes of the Zambian population towards themselves by employing the jobless in their genuine economic ventures with the aim of making inroads into the collective psyche.
Cross border trucking is a plausible indicator of the value Zambia has towards all kinds of international organisations. Truckers ply route that begin in Durban and end up in Nairobi and beyond. This is why organisations like World Vision and Family Health International (through Society for Family Health) have operated programmes to tackle HIV/AIDS among truck drivers.
Zambia is a central passageway for child trafficking, woman trafficking, drug trafficking, car thefts and other cross-border vices.
The arrival of political pluralism in 1991 liberated the media market to such an extent that international media platforms such as paid TV channels and the Internet seeped into the country. That ran parallel to the plethora of private-ran (including religious-based) local radio and television stations, newspapers and magazines that emerged with varying degrees of success. Zambia is a noted example of Press freedom on the African continent.
Zambia stands at the threshold of tremendous economic change. Such as yet unexploited natural resources as oil, gold and diamond are now emerging as practical possibilities in a land heavily dependent on copper mining.
That economic change necessarily needs to be steered with a common vision and attitude as upheld in the Declaration.
At least two generations (from persons born in the 1950s to those born in the 1990s) have been decimated by HIV/AIDS and related opportunistic infections. The society is in a state of socio-cultural and socio-economic recovery on these grounds. The impact of the deaths has been catastrophic, giving rise to palpable helplessness and hopelessness among orphans, widows and the vulnerable senior citizens. Former World Vision national director Bwalya Melu, who lost three brothers and sisters-in-law in a short period, once described Zambia as "a nation in mourning."
The moral rearmament that Second Republican president Dr Chiluba spoke of at his inauguration in November 1991 has not even started, and it needs to be coherently pursued with an over-arching theme such as is captured in the declaration. This is an area in which such divinely imbued human attributes of compassion, hope, empathy and determination need to be infused into the entire economic recovery effort.
Of all religions existent in Zambia, Christianity has been the most culturally compatible, profitable and enduring. There are nations that are constitutionally voodoo states, Islamic Republics or secular-atheist nations. One of these positions will fill the void should Zambia reach a point where the covenant with God is revoked.
Given that satanism has insidiously increased around key urban areas, and given that witchcraft is already widespread, satanism would stand a good chance of sweeping into the open spaces and turning Zambia into satanist nation. "Do what thou wilt" is a key satanist injunction among followers worldwide, therefore human rights as we know them will vastly transform until we become a law-less state, or a republic without laws.
This is a critical hour when the nation direly needs to hold together through to the next general elections and the uncertain beyond: we need the salting influence of the scriptures and Church over national affairs in increasing doses. For it is widely acknowledged that the depth, breadth and length of our national peace are not a result of human initiative. You cannot expect the sanity and sanguinity of our Christian heritage to prevail should one group of Zambians decide to nullify the nation's allegiance to the Lamb of God.
Is there a better blueprint for any nation than the Bible? No.