By Bright Chikele….
Is THE IMF- A NECESSARY EVIL? One of our own Fabian had this to say on this matter-
“As an average Zambian would argue, and with reference to past events, it is believed that the IMF has been the cause of most problems faced by Zambia today. This topic, however, still remains debatable.
Just recently, the IMF visited our country proposing ways in which we can mitigate our currency and economic problems. One of the ways proposed was to let government withdraw from subsidies and let commodities have cost reflective prices.
In as much as this may have had angered a lot of Zambian citizens, the reason behind it was overlooked.
Firstly, this was going to be temporary, in that as soon as the kwacha stabilized, the prices would have reduced to a sustainable level. With stability in the kwacha, prices of goods and services would normalize, and routine shopping would resume.
Secondly, by paying high for products, more kwacha is taken away from circulation and deposited in the BOZ where it is held for contractionary monetary policy purposes. With less kwacha in the economy, it subtly increases demand in the local currency and weakens the foreign currency.Just about what the country needs right now I can’t help but feel that whichever government comes in after the elections will definitely take this approach”
The people in many neighborhoods are suffering the same fate as the urban poor in many other vast inner=city territories around Zambia. A combination of economic exploitation and political abandonment. They the people will be waiting for the promises been made by every politicians to be kept..they are still going to wait with hope to see all the promises come to pass. Most people see the compounds as nothing and say problems are coming from the ghettoes. The ghettoes, my dear , are a solution, not a problem.
Blaming the poor for their poverty is one of our most traditions. While it may be a Zambian tradition to blame the victim, it clearly is not biblical one. A more biblical reading of our situation would suggest that the violence and lawlessness in this country go far deeper than stolen TV sets. The Bible sees the oppression of the poor rooted in the hardness of heart of the rich and comfortable, and in the institutions and structures they set up to further their own wealth and power. Again and again in the Scriptures, the exploitation and suffering of the poor is directly attributed to the substitution of the worship of mammon for true worship of God.
The poorest of the poor have been shut out of Zambian life. Increasingly, they are behaving as outsiders who have no stake in society .Now zambia has been divided into two separate and drastically unequal worlds: the affluent majority and the impoverished class, the “we” and the “they”.
I will never forget the first time I visited a shantytown on the outskirts of Lusaka, where we are running an orphanage now. People lived in a mud shelters. There was no sanitation, no running water, no electricity, and little food. Women carried water from two to four miles away. I did have to ask what kind of education the children were getting . Disease, illiteracy, high infant mortality, and of course, hunger were the daily experience of the people. I have never seem such human misery.
Throughout history, the rich have had difficult time seeing that their prosperity is based on other people’s poverty..a fourth-century bishop of caesarea, expressed his frustration on this point, saying to the rich, “How can I make you realize the misery of the poor? How can I make you understand that your wealth comes from their weeping?” this is a good reminder to each and every person helped or voted by the poor people and the rich as well.we don’t understand that we have much more than we need because the poor have much less than they need. In other words our standard of living is rooted in injustice. Our hope is others’ despair, our good life perpetuates their misery.
The question Zambia to be asked is not what should we give to the poor? But when we will stop taking from the poor? The poor are not our problem; we are their problem.the idea that there is enough for everyone to live at our standard of living, or that we are rich because of hard work and God’s favor, or that poverty is due to the failure of the poor-all these are cruel myths devised by a system seeking to justify its theft from the poor. God put us here on earth to be good stewards but sadly we have become exploiters. Rather than treating the minerals of the earth as a gift for all of God’s children here in Zambia, we have wasted the minerals to profit the few.
Look closely at this verse church; O my people, your leaders mislead you, and confuse the course of your paths. The Lord has taken his place to contend, he stands to judge his people. The Lord enters into judgment with the elders and princes of his people: “it is you who have devoured the vineyard, the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor?” says the Lord God of hosts. (Isaiah 3:12-15)
People and leaders have reason to fear such judgment. But they ignore it in favor of a different kind of fear, which increasingly plague them: the fear of losing control in a changing country. Resources are no longer cheap .many are so insecure,at home, wages for many working families have stagnated, while the cost of health care and house rentals have gone up. Parents no longer trust that their children will have a better life than they have had.
The result of prosperity based on injustice is anxiety. Gloom , cynicism, despair, and hedonism. The rich hunger in Spirit while the poor hunger in bread. Our work as followers of Christ is to liberate the poor and to make the blind see. The poor need justice, and the rich need restored sight.
The anxiety-ridden and the poverty-stricken are the two major segments of humanity in Zambia today. To recognize this fact is to acknowledge the truth of the oppressor-oppressed division but to go beyond class consciousness to spiritual consciousness.
A very wise old man once told me the difference between concern and compassion: ”Being concerned is seeing something awful happening to somebody and feeling, ‘Hey, that’s really too bad.’ Having compassion,” he said, “is seeing the same thing and saying, “I just can’t let that happen to my brother.” in other words, concern comes from a recognition of a problem. Compassion comes out of a feeling of relationship.
That is precisely what the affluent lack with respect to the poor- any real feeling of relationship. We have no relationship with the poor. We isolate ourselves by isolating them..all the documentary we see on TV may inform,shock,repulse, or immobilize us. They may even be enough to make us feel guilt; but they don’t change our hearts, which, in the biblical language, means to change our lives. Identification with the poor is, after all , impossible without some concrete relationship to the poor. “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God abide in him?” (1 john 3:17)
To trust fully in God requires not only that we break our attachment to possessions, but also that we identify ourselves with the poor and the afflicted in their distress. To do so is not just to follow the example of Jesus; it is to minister to Christ himself.
The Bible often refers to the oppressed, the alien, the stranger, the orphans, and the widow. These are the defenseless people, the powerless, the disenfranchised, the voiceless ones at the bottom of the social structure. By His relationship with the poor Jesus establishes their value. So must the church .if Jesus identified Himself with the poor, what does that mean for us? Jesus Christ is known for his position on that question. If we are his people, we must be known for the same thing.
Now resolve to stand for the poor, now that you know that God’s heart is also for everyone, choose to stand for what God stands for. Stand for justice and refuse any forms of injustice in your family, company and the country at large.
May God be with you always. May God cause His face to shine upon you. May God surely bless the works of your hands .Fear no evil for God is with you child of God. may God prepare a table before you, in the presence of your enemies .May God fill you with His wisdom,power and grace in all you do, for greater is He in you than the one in the world.