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It’s anti-Catholic to disparage anyone based on ethnicity, say Fr Lungu

THE Catholic Church says any form of tribalism, nepotism and hate speech does not sit well with it.

Over the weekend, a Catholic-owned Lutanda radio in Kasama ran a tribally-charged programme featuring two PF ‘elements,’ Stone Chanda and Abraham Mulenga.

The duo was explaining how tribal Tongas are, as they know them.

“Tongas are truly discriminatory. I went to Southern Province for a week, just to learn about their attitude. We are not denting them – they are tribalists,” said Chanda, in Icibemba.

The interviewer tried to get more justification from Chanda, but Mulenga chipped in, intermittently, to amplify the tribal issue.

During the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) 2019 media day at Kapingila House in Kabulonga in Lusaka on Thursday, Lusaka lawyer Anthony Kasolo, a devout Catholic, brought up the issue, seeking for a comment from the Church.

Kasolo said as he was travelling from Kapiri Mposhi on Wednesday, a friend called him, “sounding very distressed.”

“There was an interview on a Catholic media, Lutanda radio in Kasama which gave hate speech against the Tongas. He attacked me because he knows I’m a Catholic…” said Kasolo, while delving into the positives of Tonga-speakers.
In response, ZCCB general secretary Fr Cleophas Lungu said: “with regard to the unfortunate story of hate speech being aired in one of our Catholic radio stations, I can confirm that we have engaged with the authorities in the Archdiocese of Kasama.”

“We are yet to get a full update on what transpired. But I can only say that be patient with us; we don’t want to speak on behalf of an institution we are not running as bishops’ conference,” he said.

“So, the right people to comment will be the Archdiocese of Kasama. But nonetheless we can hasten to say that any form of tribalism, nepotism, hate speech does not sit well with our faith and moral values as Catholic Church.”

Fr Lungu explained that the tribal pair was not speaking on behalf of the Catholic Church.

“Not at all! So, be certain in your mind that what was reportedly said is not the view of the Catholic Church but the personal views of those people. The unfortunate thing was that maybe due to the lapses in the administration of that programme, that was allowed to go on air,” Fr Lungu indicated.

“If it is proven that is the case, an apology will be given in the due course. But we can confirm, get it from me; there’s no way the Catholic Church can… We cannot sit to confirm that because that is not the principle on which the Catholic Church operates.”

He added that it was, in fact, anti-Catholic to disparage anyone, based on their ethnicity.

“In the Catholic Church, we have people from all walks of life – from different tribes. We use different languages in our prayers, including Tonga,” said Fr Lungu.

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