[By Chambwa Moonga in Senga Hill]
ST KIZITO Catholic Church priest John Mwamba has appealed to Zambians to maintain the country’s peace, saying there is nowhere to run to now amidst the devastating coronavirus pandemic.
He urged Christians to ensure there is no political hostility ahead of the August 12 general elections.
Fr Mwamba spoke to congregants soon after delivering homily at Nondo Parish in Senga Hill district on Sunday.
He said this year is for peace for Zambia, “and even globally.”
“But you are all aware that this is a year for elections in Zambia. So people should conduct their political activities peacefully,” Fr Mwamba advised. “If there will be chaos in this country because of elections, Catholics will be part of that confusion.”
The clergyman noted that when there is trading of insults among politicians, “te bantu bashisalika abatukana (it’s not non-believers who go about insulting).”
“But it’s you same people who are gathered here,” Fr Mwamba said. “So we have to do what is within our means to ensure that there is no political hostility.”
He added that all those who participate in Zambia’s politics, especially this year, have an inescapable duty to uphold the country’s record of peace.
“Any Catholic who will participate in ruining this country’s peace, for whatever interest, will be committing a sin. I think I’ll even be referring you to the Archbishop [of Kasama Archdiocese],” he said. “You have to bear in mind that there are people who extremely suffer when national peace is lost. Children, the old, women and other vulnerable groupings truly suffer when this peace is ruined.”
Fr Mwamba continued: “imagine innocent children being caught up in confusion!”
“If it’s now, it’s even worse because there is nowhere to run to, if peace is lost. If we lose our peace now, there is nowhere anyone of us will go to and seek refuge because the world has been ravaged by the coronavirus,” Fr Mwamba cautioned. “So, tufwile twawamya apo twikile (we have to jealously guard our country). Our country is also overwhelmed with numerous socio-economic hardships and so we cannot afford to destroy even the peace.”
He further indicated that some people were sleeping hungry in homes: “pantu ifinti nafikosa umutengo (because prices of commodities are high).”
“Now, I can’t imagine someone who is hungry running because peace has been lost. It’s very unfair! So we have to take it upon ourselves that twasunga umutende uwa cino icalo (we keep the peace for this country),” Fr Mwamba noted.
Fr Mwamba pleaded with all political leaders to engage into peace conversations with people around Zambia.
He stressed that winning elections was about one’s message to would-be voters.
“It’s not about whipping people, because at the end of the day an election is decided by secret ballot,” Fr Mwamba said.
Meanwhile, Fr Mwamba lamented that many young people at the moment do not have jobs.
“They are aimless, so to say. So, because they are frustrated, it is easy for them to hire themselves as agents of confusion,” noted Fr Mwamba. “Always remember that politics of antagonism will not take you anywhere. Will insulting one another result in either of you having mealie-meal in your home? Not at all!”
Opposition Democratic Party leader Harry Kalaba was among those who attended mass.