The Catholic Church has made an ecclesiastical call on the current political leadership to strongly denounce and condemn the violence that has rocked the country in the last two and half years and urged those in power to begin preaching reconciliation, peace and love so that the country could experience political healing.
The Catholic Church rekindled the1991 memories of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross meeting when then president Kenneth Kaunda accepted to meet and reconcile with the opposition to reduce political tension that had gripped the country.
Yesterday, the Catholic Church brought together for the first time President Michael Sata and former president Rupiah Banda and urged the leaders to learn the art of forgiveness, reconciliation and friendship because the virtues would help to heal the nation from its political wounds.
Speaking during Good Friday service at St Ignatius Catholic Church yesterday Fr Charles Chilinda reminded those in leadership that they would also leave government one day and become ordinary citizens and it was important for them to denounce violence and vengeance.
Fr Chilinda said the bringing together of President Sata, president Banda and president Kaunda marked the beginning of a new era in Zambia’s political dispensation.
Fr Chilinda who was welcoming President Sata, president Banda, president Kaunda and leaders of opposition political parties said the meeting of the various political leaders at St Ignatius Parish should see more engagement among political leaders and not acrimony and antagonism.
“We must condemn the political violence that has rocked the country. Those in leadership today must know that they will one day be ordinary citizens and there must never be vindictiveness among political leaders. This must mark a new beginning in our political dispensation. This should be the beginning of engagement between political parties,” Fr Chilinda said.
President Michael Sata, former presidents Kenneth Kaunda and Rupiah Banda, FDD leader Edith Nawakwi, MMD’s Nevers Mumba, Vernon Mwaanga and other senior political figures attended the church service.
And speaking during the service held in memory of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ Fr John Mwelwa said the death of Jesus should unite and reconcile Zambians saying there had been a lot of hatred spread around.
Fr Mwelwa said no man had the right to shed the blood of another adding that some people thought that having power was everything in their lives. Fr Mwelwa said there was need for Zambians to reconcile and start afresh as the country celebrates the 50th independence anniversary stating that the current political leadership should strive to make Zambia a better place than they found it.
Fr Mwelwa said the current political leadership would be happy to celebrate the independence jubilee with a country that was united and at peace with its citizens.
He wondered what it was that had so deeply divided Zambia and urged the leadership to recognize that no leader had the right to take away the rights of citizens to assemble and association.
“Let no man shed the blood of another. The death of Jesus Christ should help us reconcile Zambia and start again as a country. Those in leadership must strive to make Zambia a better country than they found it.
What is it that has caused such deep divisions in our country? Why are we so divided and why is there so much violence. The cross must give us the freedom to go anywhere and meet anyone without being restrained. Let no man take away our birth and the fundamental rights that God has given us,” Fr Mwelwa said.
Fr Mwelwa advised that the best way to defeat an enemy was to forgive because the act had the potential to liberate warring parties.
Others who attended the service included MMD president Nevers Mumba, People’s Party leader Mike Mulongoti, FDD’s Edith Nawakwi, veteran politician Vernon Mwaanga, PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba and Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda.