THE President is in the right perspective regarding introducing a ministry of religious affairs. We call ourselves a Christian nation and this is enshrined in our Constitution. It would definitely be prudent to live to our call of being a Christian nation, if institutions and policies are put in place to strengthen and make this call a reality. Simply having a clause in the Constitution saying we are a Christian nation is not enough. The fact that there are other religions as well in Zambia means we need an environment to regulate and enforce policies that will bring an equitable platform for all worshippers. There is also need for people to be protected from schemers posing as â€˜men of Godâ€™; a problem very evident in our midst.
For example, Pentecostals know how to worship according to their faith, as such there should be rules to ensure that people worship accordingly and bad elements are rooted out.
The religious ministry will also help in harmonising inter-religious relationships so that any friction that may arise is sorted accordingly. Zambia being a Christian nation needs to be run by Christian values, even when they tend to be in contrast with certain Government policies. Street vending is by law illegal. The late President Michael Sata looked at the plight of the many who made a living on the streets and allowed them to continue their businesses freely despite it being against the law. Itâ€™s a Christian value to help those in need, a reason why it is necessary to have a religious ministry so that Christian values are upheld. As it is stands today, many are just at the mercy of the law enforcers. We have a lot of people like the blind asking for alms, street kids looking for shelter and care and many others who are vulnerable.
It lies at the heart of Christianity that we show love to those in need by helping them attain their need. Today we have no structure to ensure that the needy get the help they need. The religious ministry would ensure that a reliable and systematic network is put in place to ensure that those who are in need, receive and those who want to give, give.
There are situations which have occurred when the â€˜sheepâ€™ (congregants) have been left in the open by their â€˜shepherdsâ€™ (pastors) due to rivalry, opposition or other differences by the leaders of those churches. Some churches have split or even completely broken apart, leaving the faithful with nowhere to go. The religious ministry can stand in to arbitrate and help to restore order in the work of God for the sake of our faith.
Hence, I feel there is need to introduce the religious ministry. As a Christian nation, the religious ministry would stand up positively in enhancing our Christian faith and values. If the idea of creating this ministry looks too colossal for some, then a department to deal with these issues can be created in one of the already existing ministries.
MARTIN M MAIMBOLWA