UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema says he and the five others who were accused of treason have forgiven their captors because if they didn’t, “we would have no credibility to claim that we are different from them”.
Hichilema, Hamusonde Hamaleka, Muleya Hachinda, Laston Mulilanduba, Pretorius Haloba and Wallace Chakawa, who were arrested in April, charged with treason, walked to freedom after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Lillian Shawa Siyuni discontinued their case on August 16.
Speaking during a thanksgiving Church service at the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka yesterday afternoon, Hichilema disclosed that he had reached the decision to forgive his “cruel captors” after reflecting on the love of Jesus Christ.
“I want to say to you, on behalf of my colleagues, that despite the injustices, the inhuman treatment that we endured following our brutal arrest and detention, we harbour no bitterness and no anger. I, therefore, say, on behalf of my colleagues, I, Hakainde Hichilema, having reflected on everything that happened in light of the Word of God and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, we do hereby forgive all of those who were involved in our brutal arrest and subsequent detention. If we did not forgive them, we would have no credibility to claim that we are different from them,”
He added that as a Christian, he strongly believed that whatever happened in life did so for a purpose.
“Therefore, who am I to question God? I’m deeply convinced that our incarceration was for a purpose and Romans 8 verse 28 reads and I quote ‘All things work together for good to those that love God and are called according to His purpose’,” Hichilema said.
“Our beloved friends, we are all aware that Zambia is a Christian nation [and] it is therefore imperative that we love one another. The Bible in Romans 4 verses 17 to 18 tells us that we should not repay evil with evil; but that we should strive to live at peace with all men. Furthermore, the Bible teaches us to live at peace with one another in order to attract God’s blessings. That is confirmed in Psalms 133 verses 1 to 3.”
He further reiterated that all Zambians needed observance of basic human rights, liberties and freedoms.
“We all know that God is just and He hates injustice. We are therefore focussed to see a fully functional society where all institutions of government must uphold the rule of law. Justice is Godly! The Church has a divine mandate to foster unity by ensuring that she (the Church) mediates in times of conflicts, promotes truthfulness and justice,”
And Hichilema noted that had he not gone to prison, he would have never believed any narrative of how awful prison life was.
“Brethren, we believe that God allowed our incarceration so that we can learn and know prison life and understand what really goes on inside there. I must tell you that if I didn’t go to prison in the manner that I did, I would have never believed anybody telling me what is obtaining in those prisons. It’s fair to say that when God gives us the opportunity to serve this country, I will make the right decisions,” said Hichilema.
“To whom that believes, all things are possible! Therefore, allow me to use this opportunity to say that a country that is divided against itself cannot stand and it is from this background that I urge all of us Zambians to put our differences aside and focus on the common good of our great nation, Zambia.”
During the prayer session, different clergymen and women prayed on various matters.
The prayer points ranged from the unity in the body of Christ, the Judiciary, the Executive, the Legislature, the release of Hichilema and five others and political parties.
Convenor of the event, City of Refuge overseer pastor Kangwa Chileshe thanked ‘congregants’ for showing overwhelming love to Hichilema.
And Bishop Simon Chihana, in his sermon, emphasised on oneness among Zambians.
“We must have one speech; the speech of love, the speech of unity, the speech of encouraging one another, the speech of developing Zambia. We pray that nothing will divide us,” said Bishop Chihana.
Prominent people who attended the Church service include former first lady Maureen Mwanawasa, UPND national chairman Mutale Nalumango, Non-Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council (NGOCC) board chairperson Sarah Longwe, Hichilema’s wife Mutinta, Vernon Mwaanga, Dr Sketchley Sacika, Sylvia Masebo, Obvious Mwaliteta, his wife, and several UPND members of parliament.
Others are Mike Mulongoti, Antonio Mwanza, Chilufya Tayali, Daniel Shimunza, Njekwa Anamela, Elizabeth Chitika-Molobeka, Nevers Mumba’s wife Florence, among others.