THE United Party for National Development (UPND) has back-pedalled on its decision to shun the national prayers for the August general elections and would now be part of the Sunday prayers slated for the 24th July, 2016, in Lusaka.
The UPND has announced that its vice-president for political affairs Canisius Banda will lead a delegation to the national prayers after growing criticism that the UPND leadership did not believe in God.
UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka said UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and his running mate Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba would not be attending the prayers as they would be on their campaign trail in Luapula Province.
Mr Katuka said Mr Hichilema and Mr Mwamba would be joining the nation in prayers for peaceful elections wherever they would be in their campaigns, putting to rest speculations that the opposition party was going to shun the event.
He said the UPND would also be praying for justice for those who had been victim of acts of electoral violence and their families.
“Our leader Mr Hichilema will be touring Southern Province while vice-president for administration Mr Mwamba, who is also the UPND running mate, is scheduled to be in Northern Province.
‘‘So the UPND is not going to shun the national prayers for the general elections next month as was being insinuated by our detractors.
“And our party vice-president for politics Dr Canisius Banda will lead the UPND delegation at the National House of Prayers in Lusaka for a
service to pray for peaceful elections,” he said.
Mr Katuka said earlier this week the party was honoured to attend prayers for peace hosted by the Church and the Law Association of Zambia. Mr Katuka said Mr Hichilema, who attended and led the UPND delegation, once again called for peace and unity and condemned all acts of violence in spite of the continued provocation.
Various stakeholders had criticized the UPND who had refused to be part of the prayers, claiming that those who were spearheading the event were politically biased.