By nature human beings are oriented towards the Divine or Supreme Being whom the Jews identify as YAHWEH, the Christians refer to as GOD and the Moslems call ALLAH. This is well exemplified when God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness,” (Gen. 1:26). Well, this pre-natural grace makes us realize that we are meant to be humane towards one another and towards our Creator God, the Lord of lords and the King of kings. Therefore, it is this God who gives us real peace, who wants us to live as brothers, sisters and friends in our quest to understand that real power of His that is only found in serving others.
In the light of Pope Francis’ view that “Peace is made in dialogue,” - L’osservatore Romano, Forty ninth year, number 6 (2433) – It is of vital importance in our world today than ever before to understand that no human being should force another person – who is a subject and an independent thinker too - to subscribe to one’s view(s) without freedom or without a free conscious.
Truly it is an accepted norm as a basis that a human act is an act that is deliberated freely so as to let one assume full responsibility of his/her own action(s) emanating from one’s choices. For sure, peace is one of the choices one has to make every day freely. Therefore, it suffices to say that no matter how difficult the situation might be dialogue is the catalyst for peace. In other words, people need to talk and convince each other through rational discussions that take into account understanding, patience, tolerance and respect of other view-points that might lead to consensus in search for the truth. In a way, this is how civilized peoples and societies try to live in harmony and in peace.
In our world today and in particular in Zambia, discussing hot or rather pertinent issues of national interest for the common good of every citizenry seems to be a far-fetched reality, especially before, during and immediately after election periods like this time around (2016). Instead of people exhibiting maturity and civility during this time of such events mentioned in elections, it is rather disheartening to see that this time when some irresponsible actions come to the fore like hacking and beating others who do not share the seemly “stronger” persons’ view-points. Here, some people can do whatever it takes to make their views accepted regardless of who is injured on the way. At this juncture human life becomes relative and less important to the point of exterminating it without any bother at all. In this way, “peace” seems to be achieved based on the principle that “when things get tough only the toughest keep going.” This is really not the way to go on in life as human beings today. This is because even the weakest views in our human societies need to be taken on board at all levels (spiritual and physical) in all human endeavours.
In a nutshell, dialogue is indispensable if human beings want to achieve peace that is genuine for God and His people. When this is done, then like Pope Francis we can then say in unison that “We are brothers and friends,” – L’osservatore Romano, Forty ninth year, number 3 (2430) – meant to use our human power to serve others (cf. L’osservatore Romano, Forty ninth year, number 8 (2435) – in freedom and in truth. As such whatever is happening in Zambian politics today vis-à-vis hacking and beating each other when different political parties meet and clash, is unacceptable for it is a disorder of the waste kind and hardly inconceivable beyond any reasonable doubt that those doing these kinds of acts are not better than “brut animals.” Let each political campaign and those to be voted for on 11th August 2016 on merit based on good policies, sound ideologies well expressed in their manifestos in order to attract voters through dialogue as civilized people of the 21st Century who have learnt to co-exist with one another as brothers, sisters and friends despite our different political affiliations.

May the future posterity of this great nation and beyond judge us fairly that during our time - the 21st Century - we maintained “Zambia as an Oasis of Peace.”

Date: 8th April 2016.
Fr. Charles Mukuka, OFM. Conv.
Rector and Lecturer
St. Bonaventure University
P.O. Box 37525