DEMOCRATIC Party president Harry Kalaba has encouraged the Church to take President Edgar Lungu on and show him in 2021 that he is irrelevant to Zambia’s political discourse.
The former foreign affairs minister says President Lungu’s “arrogance” towards the Church is very artificial.
On Sunday, President Lungu said he was not ashamed to challenge the clergy that felt holier than others.
The President indicated that having a big cathedral or a synagogue did not make some churches bigger than others.
President Lungu made the remarks at Christ the King International Church in Ndola’s Nkwazi township.
“I have been touched by the sermon this morning that we should worship God in truth and spirit. I will challenge the Zambian church,” said President Lungu.
“I am saying this because on 1st May 2019 during Labour Day celebration, as we were talking to each other with some labour leaders, one leader said the Church was not at the National Dialogue Forum and I said ‘which church?’ This is because some people think they are the Church. The Church is all of us who are believers in Christ.”
But Kalaba, on the Burning Issue programme on 5 FM radio yesterday, said he was surprised that President Lungu had the audacity to pour scorn on the three church mother bodies because those are the ones who didn’t attend the National Dialogue Forum.
“He accused them of playing holy…. I was dumbfounded. He shouldn’t speak that language because he is the President. What he should do is to ensure that he bridges the divide, that might exist, even within the body of Christ so that the Church doesn’t seem to operate as different bodies. It’s one! So to want to divide the body of Christ is not correct, especially coming from the Head of State,” Kalaba said.
“So clearly for me he was off tangent and he should choose his words.”
He added that President Lungu’s problem was that he did not know: “when to say what, how to say what, where to say what.”
“That’s where the problem is. As a Head of State, you must know that whatever you say is very profound and the way you say it also matters. But we have a Head of State who dares the Church that ‘take me on.’ So the Catholic Church has heard and I’m sure the priests, wherever they are, have heard that he has given them a challenge to take him on. So, take him on; show him in 2021 that he is irrelevant to Zambia’s political discourse,” Kalaba noted.
“But that arrogance is artificial; the President’s arrogance towards the Church is very artificial because it is showing a person who has been branded as humble because he folds his hands when he is walking.”
Kalaba reminded President Lungu to be decent in his commentary.
“He has told the Church ‘take me on’ because he is donating 1,000 pockets of cement. So he thinks by having mere dollars, more money, then the morality of the Church should no longer exist. But we are here to tell the President that before he ascended to the presidency, the same Church he is disparaging has always been there,” said Kalaba.
“We are reminding the President that before he became a President, the same Church prayed for him. Now that he is richer than the Church, as he claims, it is only decent that he minds what he says. I don’t think the Church is in for a battle with him – the Church only wants morality to prevail in this country and the vulnerable to be protected.”