Saturday 9 August 2008

Pursuing a cause greater than self

A voice lost to human frailty
One really important and possibly powerful voice was missing when the elections in Zimbabwe turned into a seething farce and outrageous charade, the voice of Pius Ncube.
Pius Ncube was until September 11th 2007 the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo for just under 10 years and one of the fiercest critics of Robert Mugabe and his policies.
As a religious man with the force and authority of the Roman Catholic Church behind him, he was almost untouchable; as a man amongst his people he had a role of leadership to be the voice of the voiceless and the conscience of the people to shame the government into aligning itself with less suppressive activities and policies.
A cause greater than self
Pius Ncube had to resign his commission because an aspect of human frailty or ill-discipline beclouded the greater office he held as he was caught in adulterous liaisons which were recorded and documented by state security personnel.
For that alone, he lost the ability to project authority and hence the cause and mission was lost – succumbing to the wiles of the flesh in the midst of a greater calling, lost him his dignity, his office and a notable voice for the oppressed of Zimbabwe.
Obviously, we all know that we are fallible, but the position of leadership and authority carries great responsibilities especially where integrity and honour count for much that morality forms part of the bedrock that defines that personality.
Are you what you are?
It goes without saying that you cannot be a man of God and be caught in morally questionable situations, then expect to retain the gravitas that comes with your office even if your flock is willing to forgive and forget.
Also, as a politician, you might get away with all sorts of things, but if you stand on a platform of honesty, strong family values and rectitude, the last thing you want to be caught in is a lapse of judgement that brings your great house of cards crashing down upon you.
Another man gives in
Such is the case of Senator John Edwards, the failed running mate of Senator John Kerry in the 2004 US Presidential elections and former Democratic US presidential hopeful.
After many denials, it has transpired that he had an affair in 2006 [1] whilst preparing his bid for nomination and when his wife’s cancer was apparently in remission.
It really does beggar belief that Senator Edwards would have thought this liaison would not get out – there was not only a grave error of judgement in allowing himself to be caught in an unfortunate moment of weakness, it is amazing that the goal for high office did not slap him in the face that his flesh should submit to a greater purpose.
Lacking a view of consequence
One cannot bear thinking of the consequences of that situation where if Senator Edwards had won the Democratic nomination and the breaking news as that dastardly Olympic spectacle pervades our screens was that the Democratic convention would implode over a reprobate and lying nominee in hardly another 3 weeks.
The nation would have gone into mourning for the next four years whilst many would have yearned for another possible Clinton grab at the mantle of the presidency.
Such is the measure of men who do not have the backbone to vie for office with moral rectitude and a commitment to a cause greater than self.
Bury your bodies
One should not, however, kick a man when he is down, but the fact is if you should vie for leadership or office, your skeletons must not be in a cupboard where others might open the closet and be embraced with skeletal kisses, but the bodies should have been buried deep down in the ground where the bones and fossil remains would lead archaeologists and palaeontologists down the wrong path.
Better still, walk alone, walk like a man with a cause and mission that far exceeds the demands of the flesh that if tempted you will not fall – there are very few men who can walk that walk and those are the few men who are worthy of office, leadership, respect, adulation and the great prize.
If you can fall short, do not aspire or be really, really smart – I cannot say that Senator John Edwards despite his brilliance, success, advocacy and message has been smart.
One slip can lose everything
He has become such damaged goods that the mundane act of sweeping up the bread crumbs behind Barack Obama by campaigning, raising funds or having a platform at the Democratic convention cannot be done.
As for his excuses that aim to justify his position, we need to give it time and time can be an eternity – what a loss to many and what a shame indeed, my heart goes out to Senator John Edwards’ family and in some way to the man himself – how are the mighty fallen, they might yet rise again.
We who speak so loudly probably have skeletons roaming the streets and that is why the little smart thing in our heads prevents us from doing something stupid, like vying for office or seeking authority that brings great scrutiny and expectation of being super-human.

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