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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

`Fighting graft is defending justice`

22nd February 2012

The problem of justice is the central problem for our country today and the realization of interpersonal justice is at the heart of the biblical message. To work justice is to know, that is, to love God. When justice does not exist among humans, God is ignored.

Where unjust social, political and economic injustices and inequalities are found, there is a rejection of the Lord's gift of peace, and even more, a rejection of the Lord Himself.

Justice, understood as holiness, a gift of the Lord, is the basic foundation of social justice. To struggle to establish interpersonal justice is to begin to be just before the Lord; the love of God and the love of neighbour are inseparable. One cannot claim to love the neighbour if one robs him of the means of survival and dignity. We all know that corruption is robbing our nation, our people, especially the poor, of scarce resources.

Corruption is a sin and has drastic evil effects. It is therefore not difficult to understand and appreciate Church leaderships who are eager to fight corruption using its social justice platform and that tackling corruption head-on is part of the fight for a just society.

Corruption is injustice and Christ's entire doctrine was devoted to fighting against injustice, abuse and the degradation of human beings.

Corruption is robbing our people, especially the poor, of a dignified life. Every day, a Tanzanian citizen loses his life due to corruption. As a result of corruption, our hospitals are not operating in an efficient and effective manner. Public funds are squandered, misapplied, misused, and misappropriated in all sorts of ways.

Our people are dying every day because of poor healthcare in the country. Money that should be used to look after the sick is being stolen. We also know that the state of most of our roads is very bad, very dangerous and every day, people are losing their lives due to poor roads. Some of these roads are in a poor state, in a dangerous condition because of corruption.

We know of contractors that have been given road maintenance contracts they have no capacity to fulfil. We also know that there are many contractors that have misused the money they were paid for road works and cannot today complete the projects.

They connived with civil servants and politicians to swindle the Tanzanian people. This is not a recipe for justice, for governing well. No fair-minded person can accept or tolerate these abuses, this corruption, this injustice, this humiliation of fellow citizens.

Well, there are some people in our country, some politicians who don't have many problems with corruption. When it's convenient for them, they oppose and denounce corruption. And it suits them; they defend the corrupt without hesitation.

An honest person cannot exhibit such a chameleon character. If you mix ethical values with a spirit of rebellion and rejection of injustice, you begin to appreciate and place a high value on a number of things that other people don't value at all.

A sense of personal dignity, honour and duty form the main foundation that enables people to acquire political consciousness. The ability to reason, think, analyze, meditate and develop feelings is what makes it possible for one to reject injustice, corruption and fight it.

Political ideas are worthless if they are not inspired by noble, selfless sentiments. Likewise, noble sentiments are worthless if they are not based on correct, just, humane and fair ideas.

The most horrible, most absurd things are today being invented by some characters in the opposition to poison the people against fighting corruption.

However, we can all see that the masses of our people are suffering from poverty, injustice, humiliation and inequality.

And their suffering isn't just material; it is moral, as well.

There is another sort of suffering too - social inequality, which makes you feel constantly debased and humiliated as a human being, because nobody thinks anything of you and you are treated like dirt, as if you didn't exist: somebody else is everything, but you are nothing.

Even people who have enriched themselves from government contracts or tenders, from stealing public resources are today boasting and lording over the poor - all the time boasting about how rich they are, how well-off they are, how much they don't need a government job, and so on and so forth when almost everything they have comes from government, comes from robbing the people.

It is clear why the Church has to come in and join the fight against corruption in defence of the poor, their lives and their dignity. It is your fellow human being, and especially the one who lacks life and needs justice, in whom God wishes to be served and loved. They are the ones with whom Jesus identified.

Therefore, there is no way the Church can stay away from the struggle for justice, the fight against corruption and the fulfilment of God's will. This is the best way to follow Jesus, especially in our country's present situation.

Everything that generates more life, that increases the dignity of life - from a gesture of love to the fight against corruption - is in line with God's scheme of things, in line with the construction of the kingdom, for life is the greatest gift given to us by God.

Corruption takes away life and it is therefore against God's scheme of things.

To Jesus' way of thinking, there is nothing more sacred than the right to life. And the fight against corruption is a collective effort to obtain better living conditions for the poor.

A church that places its patrimonial interests ahead of the demands of justice, life and the people among whom it is inserted is certainly a church that considers man less important than the Sabbath and, like the Pharisees, reverses evangelical priorities.

Similarly, a political leader who places his personal political interests ahead of the demands of justice and condones corruption and defends the corrupt simply because it's politically expedient for him to do so is certainly of no value to his people and should never be given a chance to govern them.

One of the reasons many people don't have what they want is neglect.

Neglect starts out as an infection and then develops into a disease. We must all wage an intense, life-long battle against corruption.

If we relax, the bugs and weeds of corruption will move into the garden and take away everything of value.

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