[By Masuzyo Chakwe and Darious Kapembwa]
ZITUKULE Consortium says it takes great exception to the way President Edgar Lungu and his administration are trying to use Christianity and prayer to blindfold citizens from seeing that the national challenges are manmade and not divine.
Executive director Nicholas Phiri said the country does need any divine intervention.
“While Zitukele Consortium respects citizens’ freedom of conscious and religion as provided by the Zambian constitution, we take great exception to the way President Lungu and his administration are trying to use Christianity and prayer to blindfold citizens from seeing that our national challenges are manmade and not divine,” he said.
“We don’t need any divine intervention. It is laughable that President Lungu and his cabinet could be asking Zambians to turn to God and pray for the economic, social and political wellbeing of the country, which they messed up themselves in the first place. Zambia’s economic, social and political woes are not an act of divine circumstances.”
Phiri said Zambians were the way they were today as a country due to poor leadership, corruption and greedy among those in leadership and lack of active citizenry in governance.
He said God had been and was still gracious to Zambia, giving her more than 750,000 square kilometres of land, abundant natural resource including copper, mukula trees, vast markets offered by her eight neighbouring countries, absence of civil war since independence and a relatively youthful population.
“What more would any nation ask from God more than what God has already given us? For instance, while the Zambian government invested 42 million USD in the procurement of 42 fire trucks that have hardly served their purpose, Rwanda invested about 24 million USD to put up a smart phone manufacturing plant poised to produce 1000 phone per day,” he said.
“The impact of such an investment on job creation and improvement of the social economic heath of the country are unquestionable. Cleary, the difference between Rwanda and Zambia has nothing to do with Christianity and prayer, but everything to do with the quality of leadership. We wish to restate our position that Zambia does not need prayer to improve her social- economic wellbeing. It is in fact a mockery to Zambians and blasphemy to God to seek his divine intervention when those in positions of authority are not committed to adhering to Gods universal principles of diligence, honesty and stewardship.”
Phiri said if anything, the only divine intervention needed from God was for Him to deal with those in leadership using his name in vain to cover up incompetence, corruption and deceit.
And Change Mindset Zambia executive director Geoffrey Musonda said this year’s day of prayer was meaningless without the conveners having to meet President Edgar Lungu and his rival, Hakainde Hichilema, of the opposition UPND.
Musonda, an advocate of a departure from the old way of conducting politics and various ways of life brought about by plural politics, said meeting the two leaders in their individual capacities by religious leaders could have made a significant step towards achieving this year’s prayer theme which was anchored on forgiveness.
“There is no problem in the country, the problem is with the two leaders HH and his excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu,” Musonda said.
He insisted that there was no meaning in going to offer powerful prayers in public and return to face the same problems and challenges such as political violence and other vices perpetrated by the two biggest political parties.
“Pick a phone and call HH, say my son we need to talk, call president Lungu and say my son we need to sit and talk, I am sure they will accept rather going to pray for reconciliation when leaders can’t talk to each other,” he said.
He called on minister of religion Godfridah Sumaili to lead reconciliation talks between the two leaders to settle political differences.