PRISCILLA CHIPULU, Lusaka
AUXILIARY Bishop for Chipata Catholic Diocese Benjamin Phiri has distanced himself from the statement issued by Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) president Telesphore Mpundu in which he said Zambia has become a dictatorship.
Bishop Phiri said the Catholic Church is non-partisan and would continue to work with the government of the day.
The prelate becomes the second Catholic bishop to distance himself from Bishop Mpundu’s statement.
On Sunday, Catholic Diocese of Ndola Bishop Alick Banda said there is no crisis in Zambia as Bishop Mpundu and his allies were alleging and urged the opposition to accept that there is a president in Zambia.
He said in a telephone interview that it was not right to have a statement circulating as having been issued by the ZCCB when the other bishops, who are the members, were not consulted.
Bishop Phiri said the statement did not represent the views of all the Catholic bishops in the country.
“As a conference, we have not sat and discussed those issues. As you are aware, we meet periodically. Therefore, the statement cannot be said to represent the views of all the bishops countrywide,” he said.
“I am sure the archbishop is in a better place to explain what he meant when he issued the statement.”
He said the other bishops did not have any input into the statement.
Bishop Phiri noted that the Catholic Church’s official position was to play a motherly role to all.
He said the Catholic Church did not take sides of political parties as its membership is diverse.
On Friday, three church mother bodies issued a joint press statement demanding the release of United Party for National Development president Hakainde Hichilema who is charged with treason.
The ZCCB, Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia and Council of Churches in Zambia also called for dialogue between the ruling Patriotic Front and the UPND and alleged that there is is tension in the country.