JACK ZIMBA, Lusaka
PRESIDENT Lungu will this month meet with the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) to discuss national matters.
Special assistant to the President for press and public relations Amos Chanda said the President said this when he met the Apostolic Nuncio for Zambia and Malawi, Archbishop Julio Murat at State House yesterday.
An apostolic nuncio is a representative of the Pope or Holy See, equivalent to an ambassador.
During the closed-door meeting that lasted about one hour, the two leaders discussed a broad range of national issues, chiefly the relationship between State and the Church.
During the meeting, the two leaders discussed the role of the Church in promoting national unity and dialogue.
Mr Lungu assured Archbishop Murat that he remains committed to dialogue on national matters, Mr Chanda said.
He said Archbishop Murat on the other hand expressed his appreciation for Mr Lungu’s open-door policy granted to the Catholic Church.
The archbishop noted that President Lungu had given considerable access to the Catholic Church to discuss various issues, and that he had taken interest to visit various Catholic institutions.
Mr Chanda said both leaders emphasised the importance of dialogue between the Church and State.
Mr Chanda said the President was accompanied to the meeting by Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs Godfridah Sumaili and Presidential Affairs Minister Freedom Sikazwe.
Archbishop Murat was also accompanied by a representative from the Vatican embassy.
Last month, the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops, Council of Churches in Zambia and Evangelical Fellowship in Zambia issued a statement in which they said that the nation was facing a crisis and called for dialogue between the Patriotic Front and main opposition United Party for National Development.
The EFZ, however, distanced themselves from the statement which caused an uproar and left the Church divided in opinion.