Greed breeds a host of other practices which can subvert both fairness and justice to others. It can promote bribery and corruption to the disadvantage of other people. Selfishness is a cancer that should be discouraged or eradicated. For every gain made unfairly through greediness, there is an equal amount of loss to someone else.
sundayword BY PROSPER TINGINI
Greed is a scourge or an affliction that runs across the echelon of society from the very top to the very bottom.
Using the Zimbabwean example, it is not surprising to see that while the generality of the population is poor, the country’s wealth is concentrated in the hands of very few people at the top.
The Lord our God blessed Zimbabwe with an array of rich mineral resources among other things, plus a highly educated population, yet if you add up the two, one is surprised at the level of poverty among the citizens. A country’s wealth should benefit its people, the orphans, the widows, those in old age and the poor. In countries like the United Kingdom (England), you will find that the unemployed are all given a monthly allowance called “unemployment benefits”. The same applies to children of the unemployed and the old. Everyone benefits from the state resources across the board. Despite being blessed with abundant natural resources, life in Zimbabwe is a one man for himself and God for us all game. No wonder the people now place more faith in religious leaders than political leaders or the state.
The political arena has been infested with greedy people susceptible to selfishness and corrupt people only interested in lining up their pockets with no care for the country’s poor who are left to fend for themselves. Even when we look at our southern neighbour, South Africa, we find that all single, unemployed mothers and old people are paid a monthly allowance by the state, yet nothing of the sort happens in Zimbabwe. One then wonders where proceeds from the so-called “state-resources” go to. Are these state resources now being converted to “individual resources?” It is not surprising $15 billion worth of state minerals disappeared into thin air. Not a cent of all that money was used to look after the orphans, widows and the poor. All of it went into individual pockets.
If we look at parastatals, we find institutions like the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) milking the public of millions of dollars. Despite collecting hundreds of millions of dollars from the working public, what is then paid out as benefits is pathetic, to say the least. Yet, if you look at the pay packages and benefits for the custodians of these public funds, one wonders whether such institutions were created to benefit these few employed executives at the expense of the contributing public. the recklessness of investments made using the public funds accrued leaves also a lot to be desired.
The current level of payouts for pensions or other benefits do not correspond with the size of total assets of NSSA in terms of value for money. It is also not surprising that we frequently read in the papers how people entrusted with public funds then go on to pay themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars while the contributing members end up getting very little benefits. The same goes for organisations like PSMAS. These sort of things are a crime against humanity. Corrections are needed to bring fairness and justice.
Unfortunately in Zimbabwe, bribes are used to cover up injustices or to corrupt those who are supposed to keep checks on fairness and injustices. The end result is that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. This is the status quo prevailing in the country. In the Bible, Deuteronomy 16: 19-20, God spoke to the people; “You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality; and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall follow”.
The general workers bear the brunt of greedy employers and executives in this country. The company owners and their executives award themselves hefty packages such that very little is then left to pay the general workers. Some have gone for months without a penny to feed themselves or their families. You would find that some top individuals are earning in excess of $20 000 each monthly, enough to pay 100 workers. Such executives would rather see the poor underpaid workers die of hunger rather than accept a reduction of their high perks. There is a total lack of fairness and a miscarriage of justice at play, all caused by individual greed. Even in the homes, the poor underpaid domestic workers can go for months without getting paid because the employer wants to satisfy his/her needs first. The needs of the domestic worker are considered as less relevant to those of the employer. This scenario is totally unfair. In Deuteronomy 24: 14-15, the Lord our God proclaimed, “You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy whether he is one of your brethren, or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your town; you shall give him his hire on the day he earns it before the sun goes down, lest he cry out against you to the Lord and it be sin in you”. It is better to borrow and pay the workers on time than to delay if there is a genuine shortage of cash to pay salaries. More often, it is the worker who then goes out to borrow and at times is charged interest, which will then eat into his salary or wage.
Miscarriages of justices can be personified in many other forms although the chief cause for all this is greediness. People will always try to deceive or swindle others by hook and crook. Some people will always want to pretend to be fair on the surface yet gaining an advantage not detected by others. To discourage such deceitful acts, God commanded us, “You shall not have in your bags two kinds of weights, a large and small [to con people]. A full and just weight you shall have; that your days may be prolonged. For all who do such things, who act dishonestly are an abomination to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 25: 13-16).
Let’s all share our God-given resources equitably, with fairness and justice to all.
Prosper Tingini compiled a book titled, God’s Constitution for Mankind – The Laws and Commandments. His contact details are 0771 260 195 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or the book can be purchased from Innov8 Bookshop, 23 G. Silundika Avenue, between First & Second Street, Harare.