Catholic Bishops meet Sata

A delegation of Catholic Bishops yesterday met President Michael Sata at State House to discuss a number of contentious including political violence and controversy over the constitution making process.

A State House source revealed that President Sata invited the Bishops to pre-empt them from making an adverse Pastoral statement following his fall-out with the Church.

The Bishops who have been meeting at Kapinjila House have been incensed by President Sata who recently phoned and threatened Chipata Diocese Bishop George Lungu with unspecified consequences for allowing prayers by the Grand Coalition on the constitution to meet at his church.

The Bishop has since written to the Vatican to complain about the threats on his life.

The Bishops expressed concern over the deepening polarization in the country, intolerance of political violence and the stalemate in the constitution making process which has seen the PF backpedal on the promised enactment of new constitution before the 2016 elections.

No details of the meeting have been disclosed.

The Catholic Church has written a number of Pastoral letters expressing deep concern on the deteriorating levels of political intolerance under President Sata and have gone on to reminder the head of State that it was not a mistake for Zambians to have reverted to multiparty politics in 1991,

In one of the Pastoral letters last year, the Catholic Church indicated that it was unfortunate that the political environment and the democratic space had been shrinking since the PF ascended to power in 2011.

“It was certainly not by mistake that Zambians reverted to multiparty politics in 1991. Zambians wanted to restore to themselves liberties that had been grossly eroded during the one party era. Unfortunately, looking at what is happening around us, it would seem to us, that the ideals of a politically plural society have not been fully understood and appreciated by those that aspire for political leadership in our successive Governments. This can be seen by the high levels of political intolerance that continue to characterise our political environment, especially in intra-party and inter-party relationships. Squabbling for hegemony within and across political parties has taken centre stage. All of this is at the expense of working for the wellbeing and making better the lives of ordinary Zambian citizens. Again and again, we see this intolerance manifested through repeated acts of violence and lack of harmony between and within political parties,” the Church said in one of the Pastoral letters last year.