Editor's Comment

Support each other

GENERALLY, Government and the Church complement each other and must work together just like they have done for a long time.
Largely, this is in areas of provision of social services such as education and health.
While it is the duty of Government to push for the socio-economic development of its citizens, the Church is there to play a complementary role.
The Church is there to help fill up some of Government’s inadequacies such as provision of education, health and taking care of the vulnerable in society.
This is because the Church is present in all parts of the country, especially the remotest of places, some of which do not have government offices and facilities. This makes the role of the church more important.
Historically, the Catholic church, the Reformed Church in Zambia, the United Church of Zambia, the New Apostolic, the Seventh Day Adventist and most recently the Gospel Outreach Fellowship, among others, have been Government’s development partners.
They have built primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities as well as health facilities across the country.
Most of these infrastructure have been built in far-flung areas to service people there and curb the rural-urban drift.
The Church also places special emphasis on educating and protecting the girl-child.
In fact, these churches have even employed Government-trained teachers, lecturers and medical personnel.
Churches are also a good platform for reaching out to people with messages from the Government and they also provide a national tone for the moral direction of the country.
During times such as elections, the constitution-making process, voter registration, voting, referendum and spread the news regarding immunisation, the Church has been active in sensitising people.
That is why the Church and Government need to work together owing to the fact that they serve one clientele, the human being.
The Church serves God and the good of humanity. This is what lacks especially in third world politics.
That is why Mansa Diocese pastoral coordinator Philson Kabaso says the Church and Government should not appear to be fighting because the two are cooperating partners in national development.
Indeed they are. They should therefore not be confrontational as they serve the same cause of bettering lives of citizens.
Mistrust is sometimes caused by duplication of some tasks which could be misinterpreted as one side undermining the other.
Poor coordination of activities in an area could result in stepping on each other’s toes as either side could feel that it is the one responsible for that task.
This shouldn’t happen especially if plans are shared. For instance, there are some parts of Zambia that are in dire need of relief food because of extreme weather. Some parts are drought-hit while others are reeling from floods. In either case, there is a shortage of food.
Government has already started rolling out food aid in a well-coordinated manner through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit, which is under the Office of the Vice-President.
Distribution of this aid is often done with the support of local teams or organisations which could include the Church.
It would, therefore, not make much sense, if any, for the Church to begin its own food distribution programme without some measure of coordination with the DMMU.
Doing so could result in duplication of distribution in some areas, and this would be a waste of the limited and hard-earned resources.
Similarly, Government’s robust infrastructure development in the health and education sectors has to take into consideration what the Church has already done and is still doing.
Location of construction of a new school, for instance, has to factor in where other schools are. These include church and private schools. It would be folly for the Church or the Government to build schools next to each other or within the vicinity when the need for such a service is dire and urgent in other parts of the country.
The Church is also known for its wise counsel but it cannot administer wisdom without full knowledge of it is given advice on.
Close and regular interaction with government players as well as political parties is, therefore, of utmost importance in the quest for Zambians to build on their common desire for a better Zambia.
As it were, the Government serves all Zambians regardless of their political or religious persuasion. Similarly, the Church services all Zambians regardless of their religious or political beliefs.
The Government, as often stated by President Edgar Lungu, is developing the whole country, including in regions that has an electorate that is pro-opposition. The Government cannot afford to be selective and biased.
The same goes for the Church. It would lose the confidence of the public if it is seen to be, or perceived to be taking sides. It is on a knife-edge on which it has to often balance delicate matters.
The Government and the Church have the same membership. To serve them well, they must work together, accept constructive criticism and act on it.

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