THE Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) says it has not endorsed, and will not endorse any candidate for elective public office as the nation prepares for next year’s general elections.
CCZ general secretary Fr Emmanuel Chikoya advised all citizens to register as voters so that in 2021 they could vote for transformational, visionary leaders, who were prudent stewards of national resources, of sober character with a demonstrated track record of zero tolerance against violence, tribalism and corruption.
Fr Chikoya said CCZ was an ecumenical umbrella organisation of Christian churches seeking to promote cooperation and fellowship between Christian churches and organisations in the nation.
He said the council, therefore, seeks to bring together its membership and stakeholders for consultation and discussion in an effort to help form an enlightened Christian opinion on all issues affecting the spiritual, social and physical wellbeing of Zambians.
“As secretariat, we wish to distance ourselves from an article published in the Zambia Daily Mail newspaper dated Monday, 16th November 2020 VOL 24 NO.275, with the headline ‘Rally behind President Lungu’. The article attributed to CCZ Kalulushi District Secretary Rev. Anthony Chikunga does not represent the collective views of the Council of Churches in Zambia and does not have the blessings of its Secretariat. We, therefore, note with great concern that Rev. Chikunga, despite the private counsel and guidance that he was directly given by the office of the CCZ General Secretary regarding the using of the name of CCZ to endorse political stakeholders or lobby for donations, he still went ahead and used the name of CCZ to lobby for a donation,” he said in a statement. “The CCZ, as an Ecumenical body, has a system which all leaders at various levels ought to follow. The General Secretary is the only official mandated to speak on behalf of the Church Mother Body on all positions regarding prevailing national and CCZ related matters, hence we find the sentiments attributed to Rev Chikunga to be in contravention of the set guidelines and procedures of the Council. In view of this, we would like to call on the CCZ Ecumenical fraternity and the general public to take the contents of the said article published in the Zambia Daily Mail newspaper attributed to Rev. Chikunga as his own personal views, and not the views of the Council of Churches in Zambia. We further urge the Zambia Daily Mail and the media professionals at large to do due diligence in their news reporting by scrutinising sources who speak in their own individual capacity from those who are officially mandated to speak on behalf of such bodies.”
Fr Chikoya said this was particularly important in cases where major pronouncements were made on behalf of an institution by an individual who has no mandate to do so.
“To avoid scandals and creating needless divisions among the people of God, we as CCZ would like to put it on record that the Council of Churches in Zambia has not endorsed, and will not endorse any candidate for elective public office as the nation prepares for next year’s general elections,” he said.
Fr Chikoya said CCZ was, however, cognisant of the fact that voting for particular political party candidates was the only way citizens strive for the common good in any thriving democratic dispensation.
He said with regards to the collapsed Bill 10 of 2019, CCZ’s position from the word go was that the bill had a number of unfair, ambiguous and undefined aspects which would not have served the interests of majority Zambians and would have taken the democracy backwards.
“Out of the 79 clauses that were contained in Bill 10, there were some retrogressive clauses that rendered the amendment bill defective as they were meant to favour some political stakeholders at the expense of others. The proposed changes to the Constitution as contained in Bill No.10 fell in the sense that they seemed to have a narrow perspective, contrary to the expected national perspective,” said Fr Chikoya. “We, therefore, wish to congratulate the members of parliament who chose to stand with the majority Zambians by refusing to vote for the Constitution Amendment Bill number10 of 2019 recently. In conclusion, we would like to appeal to the CCZ fraternity to maintain objectivity and appropriate distance from partisan political activities that have a potential to suffocate the timeless and much needed prophetic voice of the church.”