RELIGIOUS affairs minister Reverend Godfridah Saili has told Lusaka Province police commissioner Nelson Phiri to allow the church to conduct the thanksgiving prayers.
Police this morning surrounded the Cathedral of the Holy Cross where the thanksgiving prayers organized by City of Refuge Ministries and other ministries following the release from a four-month detention in jail of UPND leader Hichilema and five others who were charged with treason were scheduled to take place at 14:00 hours.
However, hours before the thanksgiving service, Phiri summoned Pastor Kangwa Chileshe, the main convener of the prayers, for questioning at Central Police.
Armed police also were deployed to seal off the venue of the proposed thanksgiving service.
But later, Phiri phoned Pastor Chileshe and informed him that Rev Sumaili had overruled his decision.
“When I called and there was no answer, I said pastor is very annoyed with me today…I got a call from the minister overruling my decision, saying ‘you allow people to go for prayers’ but I said now I gave them already this…probably just like I advised, they push in some notice for some day so that they reconvene,” Phiri told pastor Chileshe according to a recording that has circulated on social media.
Pastor Chileshe then told Phiri that he would forward a request to the police tomorrow for permission to hold the thanksgiving prayers.