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Catholic priest urges politicians to embrace forgiveness, reconciliation during dialogue

DIALOGUE without forgiveness will just end up as a mutual kind of admiration club, says Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops National Pastoral Coordinator Fr Justine Matepa.

In an interview at St Joseph Kamanga Catholic Church, Fr Matepa said politicians hold their positions in trust and should therefore realise that when they fight, it was  the ordinary people who suffer.

UPND vice-president Geoffrey Mwamba Bwalya attended the mass where the Parish Priest Fr Gabriel Mwanamwalye also urged politicians not to fight but embrace peace.

“Today, generously as Catholics and many others of the similar faith, we are celebrating the feast of the divine mercy. Divine refers and calls for two aspects of our Christian life and our humanity, namely to reconcile and also forgiveness …forgiveness and reconciliation. So when you talk of dialogue, yes, dialogue is important but one ingredient that is so key to dialogue is the willingness to forgive, the willingness to, within our heart, reconcile and that’s very key,” Fr Matepa said.

He emphasised that willingness to compromise was not a sign of weakness as in any dialogue process, there had to be an aspect of reconciliation and forgiveness.

Fr Matepa further wished the country well in the pending dialogue process saying the peace being spoken about was one aligned with the willingness to compromise.

“We can sit and dialogue and speak but [if we don’t forgive], it will just end up as a mutual kind of admiration club and each one goes with their own issues in the heart, with their own agendas. Overall, the key ingredient is what Christ calls and gives to us, the peace we are speaking about and then this peace aligned with it is that willingness to say, well I compromise. A compromise doesn’t necessarily mean I am weak. In dialogue, there has to be an aspect of give and take and that’s where forgiveness comes in and that’s where reconciliation comes in. I can only wish our country, our leaders all the best but also these very things peace, reconciliation and forgiveness,” he said.

Fr Matepa further called on those holding public office to be responsible and know that they were privileged to be leaders in trust of the citizens.

“We are saying when the politicians fight, it’s the ordinary people who suffer so at every point, anyone who has responsibility, public responsibility in society, they have to know that they are holding that privilege of being leaders in trust, on behalf of citizens. One little trigger may simply not go well with the populous, so it is incumbent upon each and every leader to know that their positions they hold them in trust on behalf of the Zambian people,” said Fr Matepa.

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