Editor's Comment

Church should foster unity

THE division among church leaders over national issues has left many citizens wondering if politics is all that matters now to the clergy.
Regrettably, Church mother bodies in Zambia have in recent years taken sides on matters of political nature to the extent of clearly showing traits of partisanship.
The latest disagreement on whether or not it was wrong for Patriotic Front (PF) leaders to boycott the thanksgiving prayers for peaceful elections at Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross last Sunday has brought this matter to a head.
Earlier, Independent Churches of Zambia (ICOZ) snubbed the prayers organised by Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) and Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) calling them divisive.
ICOZ president Bishop David Masupa supported former President Edgar Lungu’s stance to boycott the thanksgiving prayers.
Such rivalries in the Church underscore lack of faith among many citizens in the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation.
While it is a fact that PF has a bone to chew with United Party for National Development (UPND), which boycotted national events when it was in the opposition, the Church is expected to remain neutral by not supporting disunity in the country.
The Church should not play the PF and UPND political games because the country needs to heal from the hatred fomented by political leaders during the last general elections.
There is need for the Church to show unity and advance peaceful co-existence among citizens of all religious and political affiliations.
The Church should contribute to national unity and desist from taking political sides.
It is also important for the clergy to preach peace at all times and not sow a seed of division among believers and citizens at large.
Clerics are expected to provide counsel to political leaders, especially now that the country needs unity more than ever.
The tension among PF and UPND supporters has not died yet and it is the duty of the clergy to use such events to bring political players together.
We expect Church mother bodies to speak the same language when there are national prayers and encourage all politicians to take part to foster national unity.
We also advise politicians to reconcile quickly and avoid dragging everyone into their political differences.
Politicians should not use the Church to advance their political feelings over an issue stemming from interparty acrimony.
The justification by PF that it could not attend the prayers because the country has not yet repented and asked God for forgiveness for the innocent blood shed during the general elections does not hold water.
The PF members may still be hurt because of the loss during the elections, which they have described as not free and fair, but crying over spilt milk will not help matters.
PF leadership should heed CCZ spokesperson Father Emmanuel Chikoya’s words that we should always thank God in all situations.
We, therefore, ask the Church to take a lead in bringing politicians together because peace and unity in the country is dependent on their harmony.
Politicians in the opposition should take a leaf from President Hakainde Hichilema, who has pledged not to be vindictive in his governance system despite his fight against corruption.
We urge the former President Lungu to be magnanimous as he did during the peaceful handover of power to Mr Hichilema and continue supporting the need for peace and unity by not being vengeful over the attendance of national events.
Lastly, we urge the ICOZ president, Bishop Masupa, to help the former President heal and avoid supporting his party’s boycott of national events.

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