Churches oppose ZCTU planned protest

THE Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) has opposed intentions by the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to march to the National Assembly and picket members of Parliament not to endorse the 2015 national Budget until the wage freeze is lifted.

CCZ president Alfred Kalembo said the best way to address the standoff on the wage freeze was through dialogue with Government and not through protests at Parliament.

Bishop Kalembo said at a press briefing yesterday, that the ZCTU should engage in dialogue with the Government as the employer of public service workers.

“There is an approach to dialogue, we are trying to urge Government to look at the plight of the people and seek ways of dialoguing. Dialogue is better than confrontation; and we are encouraging dialogue,” he said.

Dr Kalembo said the council was not part of stakeholders that ZCTU was consulting to picket MPs and that it has not been approached by the labour movement.

He said if ZCTU needed advice on how it could go about pressing for the removal of the wage freeze; it should seek advice from the church.

“This (CCZ) is one of the major mother bodies. If they (ZCTU) really have a desire to seek guidance or counsel, I am sure we will be available to discuss with them,” he said.

He, however, said the CCZ was concerned about the continued wage freeze which would not help fight poverty in the country.

Dr Kalembo, however, urged Government to reconsider the wage free because it impoverished the already poor people in Zambia.

“If MPs can demand for more, we wonder which Zambian is not entitled to a wage increase. We wish to appeal to the members of Parliament to take time to interrogate critically the provisions in this year’s Budget and establish the extent to which they contribute to the attainment of people’s aspirations contained in the Vision 2030,” he said.

On homosexuality, Dr Kalembo said the practice was sinful.

“By God’s grace such people can be transformed and be used in the good of the country and the society they live in. They can be engineers, pilots but they need to hear the gospel, the transforming power of gospel,” he said.

On the constitutional making process, the bishop said the council would continue pressing for the new constitution and would not bury its head under a table.

Dr Kalembo said there was no one who was above the constitutional-making process and that the council was hopeful that the country would have a new document.

“Our mandate is a voice of consciousness and our desire has not changed that we need a constitution, and we need it now. We as Council of Churches in Zambia have made it clear that there are certain crises that may arise, which may fail to come right because of the constitution,” he said.

Dr Kalembo said the church would continue to push Government to give Zambians a new Constitution.