It seems the glory and pain over Bill 10 triumph and defeat is not ending.
Those celebrating victory don’t seem anywhere near to ending their celebrations. And for those grieving in defeat it doesn’t seem they will get over their loss any time soon.
We are advised to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat. To be humble in victory and gracious in defeat displays a strength of character and a level of honour.
Anyone who’s ever been in a political contest at any level can relate to how crushing it feels when you don’t win. The truth is when you don’t win, it hurts – it really hurts.
It’s painful to spend so much money, time and energy trying to get somewhere and then to fall short at the final hurdle. Or to lose a political contest you know you should have won. None of that is an enjoyable experience. It can cut you to the core. It can make you question whether you’re good enough or on the right path. It can cause a political party to pull apart.
The very definition of competition is “the activity or condition of striving to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others”.
So every politician out there always enters into their race or contest with the understanding someone will win and someone will lose.
That’s the whole point.
Only one person, group or political party can come out on top. Yes, sure you can draw but that’s just delaying the inevitable to another day. How many times have you drawn a contest or equalled someone and felt disappointed? How many times has a draw resulted in a rematch where one side exerts their dominance?
Now while losing isn’t something you ever think about, at the end of the day, it has to happen to someone – some will, some won’t.
We have to face the challenge!
So for Patriotic Front and their league to stand there, even with all the disappointment in the world on their minds, to behave like sore losers doesn’t sit well.
In my view, being humble in victory and gracious in defeat should be a guiding truth in our politics. Almost a secret rule that no-one talks about but it is expected of every politician and political party.
But also nobody likes the cocky winner who rubs their win in your face. Just like nobody likes the sore loser who throws a tantrum.
Your ability to control your response to an event, especially one where the outcome wasn’t as you planned, shows great character and mental strength. It separates the truly great from the average and mediocre.
When you lose you don’t have to be happy about it.
You can be sad, cry, be quiet or even a little angry. This is because right in that moment you’re not only representing yourself, but you’re also representing the people that got you there.
When you’re not a gracious loser all of those people in an instant are disrespected.
And you disrespect yourself.
While being gracious in defeat is perhaps one of the hardest things you have to do as a politician I believe it shows the true measure of a politician.
Again, we Zambian socialists find no better teacher on this score than Christ.
When a conquering hero of the ancient world rode into town in triumph, it was in a regal chariot or on the back of a stately stallion. Legions of soldiers accompanied him in the victory procession. Triumphal arches, festooned with relief sculptures, were often erected to immortalise his valiant victory.
After driving out demons, healing the sick, and raising the dead, it was time for the King of Kings to enter the Holy City. But to do so, he rode not on the back of a warhorse, but a donkey. His companions accompanied him brandishing not swords, but palm branches. The monument to his victory, erected a week later, was not an arch, but a crucifix.
His earthly beginning was frightfully humble. And his earthly end would be no different. The wood of the manger prefigured the wood of the cross.
From beginning to end, the details are humiliating. No room in the inn. Born amidst the stench of a stable. Hunted by Herod’s henchmen. Growing up in a far-flung province of the Roman Empire – Galilee, the land where the country accent is so thick, you can cut it with a knife. How was it that the high priest’s servant-girl knew that Peter was a disciple of Jesus? His hillbilly accent gave him away (Mat 26:73). Jesus’ disciples were not cultured, learned men of ability. They were drawn from the low-life of a backwater region.
When one of his closest companions offered to betray him, he did not require millions. Jesus’ worth was reckoned to be no more than the Old Testament “book value” for a slave – thirty pieces of silver (Ex 21:32). When he was finally handed over to the Romans, he was not given the punishment meted out to Roman citizens. Beheading was the quick, dignified way to execute someone of any standing. Instead Jesus was given punishments reserved only for slaves and rebellious members of subjugated peoples – flagellation and crucifixion. These two penalties were not just about the pain, but about the humiliation. In first century Palestine, men and women typically covered themselves from head to toe, even in the scorching heat. A crucified man was stripped naked and put on display for all to see.
Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali