ZAMBIANS should be wary of a group of sponsored clergy that has joined the band wagon of couriers and purveyors of hate messages to undermine the country’s legitimately elected leadership to serve the narrow political interest their masters, civil rights activist Brebner Changala has warned.
He said it was shameful for some members of the clergy to have abandoned their call and were now in the business of peddling lies and malice at a time when the country was preaching reconciliation, forgiveness and love.
Mr Changala has paid glowing tribute to St Ignatius Catholic Church and its priest Fr Charles Chilinda for having succeeded in bringing President Edgar Lungu and United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema together after many months of political acrimony between the two leaders.
He said the Catholic Church had proved that it was truly close to the people and believed in love for one another, peace and harmony by ensuring that President Lungu and Mr Hichilema came face to face and shared pleasantries to the relief of many of their followers and supporters.
Commenting on the handshake between President Lungu and Mr Hichilema during the memorial service and the unveiling of a tombstone of late president Michael Sata on Wednesday, Mr Changala said it was pleasing to see President Lungu share light moments with Mr Hichilema and other opposition political party leaders.
Mr Changala said Mr Sata’s memorial service was an opportunity for political party leaders to consider putting aside their differences that had for a long time blinded them from seeing the real needs and challenges of the country as they had concentrated on attacking and maligning each other in their contest to win votes from the electorate.
“It is very sad to note that there is an emerging pattern of men in the collar who have engaged in partisan politics only to demonise the legitimately elected leadership so as to separate their followers from the love of Christ. Some of the clergy have joined the band wagon of hate speech couriers to serve the narrow interest of their beleaguered sponsors. Shame on them for their unrepentant behavior because it is in times like this that we need the Grace of God to pull together in one direction as a people. The memorial service of late president Sata offered an opportunity to preach love, unity, forgiveness and reconciliation and special thanks must go to St Ignatius Catholic Church priest Charles Chilinda for bringing President Lungu and Mr Hichilema together to realize that they were not enemies despite being in the contest to govern the country,” Mr Changala said.
Mr Changala urged the clergy from other churches to emulate Fr Chilinda and St Ignatius Church community because in unity, Zambia could achieve a lot under the umbrella of love, peace and reconciliation.
He stated that the church was an umbrella of peace and not a platform of sowing seeds of political despondency and anarchy.
He recalled that it was Fr Chilinda who negotiated for the release of the Barotse activists who were detained during late president Sata’s reign apart from organizing a prayer meeting during 2014 Easter period for all political parties which Mr Hichilema did not attend.