COUNCIL of Churches in Zambia general secretary Father Emmanuel Chikoya says the three Church mother bodies have refused to be a rubber stamp or sanitise the dialogue process to the glory of somebody.
Speaking on ‘Frank on Hot’ radio programme, Fr Chikoya said those who were pouring scorn on the Church should be forgiven.
“Father forgive them for they do not know what they are saying and even if they do or think they know what they are saying, we still pray that they are forgiven. Harsh words are not strange because even Jesus was accused of being a prince of demons, so it’s not strange. That was a very strong utterance on him but he said ‘me who is equated to the fresh grass can be attempted to be burnt, what more of you the dry grass…it’s not surprising that we are receiving that vicious attack,” Fr Chikoya said.
“Of course, it does get to us but we have our confidence in God, we recharge, we refocus and move on. Are we irrelevant? He needs to check his facts. If you consider the three church mother bodies irrelevant…remove them from the health sector, remove them from the education sector, remove them from the social sector, then you can talk about relevance. Sometimes we don’t appreciate the presence of certain entities until we begin to mourn or groan over their absence. You cannot accuse the Church of being irrelevant. We are very relevant but we have refused to be a rubber stamp. We have refused to be given a chair and sat there and superintend and sanitise the process to the glory of somebody…that is where the issue is.”
He said the Church was geared to get to a level where the common people on the ground using “our existing structures are a part of the dialogue process.”
Fr Chikoya said the three church bodies comprised independent thinkers who were abreast with the undertaking before them.
He said the Church needed to create that atmosphere where there was positive peace in the country.
Fr Chikoya said one could not attain positive peace until people begin to talk with each other rather than about each other.
“We have featured on Diamond TV, I have featured on MUVI TV and we have featured on many other programmes and when you look at comments and feedback you would say that over 90 per cent are positive and so what the Church desires is to see a community in dialogue. It’s not everybody that will come to an elite centre like Mulungushi [International conference Centre] or the Cathedral. We want to get to a level where the common people on the ground using our existing structures like the Church…we are present everywhere, even government is very limited in terms of presence. So you can use those small groups to begin to have people have a change of attitude, a change of mindset because at the end of the day you have sponsors of violence and those that implement the violence and who are those people? They are out there and are not at Mulungushi. A signature can be appended at the presidents’ summit but does that impact the common man out there, the cadre out there?” Fr Chikoya asked. “Our understanding as a Church is that we need to create that atmosphere where there is positive peace in this country and you cannot attain it until people begin to talk with each other not about each other, that is our desire…maybe that’s where the point of departure comes because others want us to pick whatever communiqué they prepared somewhere and fit in. I am sorry, we are not fitting in. We are independent thinkers and that’s our greatest crime. It has been to say thank you, you have given us the honour to lead the process and our understanding of leadership is very clear. If people have another understanding of leadership then that’s not our problem. Our understanding is that when you lead, you are in charge, you facilitate and will be able to coordinate those things that are clear in leading. We are very clear.”
Fr Chikoya said it would have been ideal to have had President Edgar Lungu present at the launch of the dialogue process last Friday.
He explained that the dates were moved to accommodate everyone in the launch of the dialogue process adding that it was time “for the plane to take off” regardless who was on board.
Fr Chikoya said the Church reached a stage where they said they had done enough consultation and accommodating and what was left was to move forward.
He urged President Lungu to attend to local clarion calls with the same speed he did to the international assignment he dashed to.
“You don’t need a quorum to pray. You don’t need to have an attendance list to pray as God is able to hear us and respond to us. We would have loved him [President Lungu] to attend but we did our best to ensure that we accommodate everyone. It’s 48-hours for both local and international assignment, isn’t it?” said Fr Chikoya. “But if you give an example of the recent assignment; there was no 48 hours; it was attended to urgently…that’s what we would like to see even in the local scene. At the end of the day it’s very easy to begin to play around with technicalities but what we need to see is us talking together, talking to each other until the issues that are bothering us as Zambians are resolved before 2021.”