YANDE SYAMPEYO, Lusaka
THE Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) has denied organising national prayers for incarcerated United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema meant to press for his release.
ZCCB communications director Winfield Kunda says the Catholic Church is not aware of such prayer arrangements either at the conference level or within the archdiocese of Lusaka, contrary to reports circulating in some sections of the public.
Reverend Father Kunda said this in a statement released in Lusaka yesterday that the Catholic Church has an established structure through which it officially communicates messages to the public.
“We are, however, perturbed by the message which is being circulated, especially on social media, which reads ‘Catholics call for national prayer for Hichilema’s health and freedom’. This story must have been manufactured by agents of ‘fake news’,”Rev Fr Kunda said.
Rev Fr Kunda said the Catholic Church continues to pray for those who request for prayers and that this is done during mass every Sunday.
“Our prayer intentions are that the will of God be done and not according to our will,” Rev Fr Kunda said.
And Minister of Finance Felix Mutati has challenged the Catholic Church to endeavour to engage Government in dialogue before issuing statements to the public.
And Mr Mutati says national leaders should develop a habit of communicating effectively with the grassroots and inculcate a spirit of oneness among Zambians.
Mr Mutati said it is cardinal for the Catholic Church to develop a productive conversation where it can have first-hand information on different issues.
The minister said this yesterday during a fundraising breakfast meeting organised by Mtendere parish to raise K500,000 for various projects.
“My advice to the Catholic Church is that let us engage and dialogue much more often with government. Before we make any statements, it is important that we have a productive conversation where we share different perspectives so that we can understand government position first-hand,” he said.
Mr Mutati, who contributed K10,000 towards the event, said the Catholic Church has been supportive for a long time and Government remains confident the warm and constructive relationship will continue.
Mr Mutati pledged to campaign and engage various stakeholders to assist the church to acquire benches and other items.
And the minister said it is incumbent upon all Zambians to pray to ensure the peace and unity the country’s forefathers fought for is preserved.
Mr Mutati said it is important for national leaders to stay in tune with people in communities and develop a spirit of bonding with all Zambians.
Mtendere Catholic Church chairperson of finance committee Glenda Mwela said rehabilitation of the parish necessitated the fundraising event.