Solidarity mass for deported priest held

The Catholic Church in Chipata Eastern Province has held a solidarity Mass for their deported priest Fr. Viatuer Banyangandora of Rwanda.

According to Chipata diocese Vicar General Fr Gabriel Msipu hosted Lundazi Catholics at Fr Banyangandora celebratory mass along with 12 other senior catholic priests.

Fr. Gabriel Msipu said the Catholic Church would keep preaching the truth even if it meant facing deportation from those in power.

“The church will not be intimidated at all and will strive to speak on the evils of human kind and any injustices inflicted on innocent and poor people. The church will always be on the side of the weak because that is how Jesus wants us to be,” he said.

He said pastoral letters had been written since immemorial and pre-colonial days, and that the church was in 1954 dealing with a much stronger man Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, but the Pastoral letters worked.

Fr. Msipu, “Even in the era of the late former president Dr. Frederick Chiluba with his brutal dictatorial tactics during the third term, the Catholic Church’s voice was very strong against him and by the time he realized, the third term was off and the people of this lovely nation emerged victorious. So there is nothing that we as church shall fear to speak on especially if it touches the souls of our people.”

During the preaching in Chipata, all the celebrants were wearing red to symbolise their readiness to die and displeasure over governments decision to deport the priest over speaking on the behalf of many suffering and poor Zambians.

“That someone saying that the price of cotton was too low can it be an issue to depot him for? Don’t mix up priorities. The people of Zambia are crying while suffering and the major issue of villagers who mainly depend on farming is that of low prices of cotton which should be revised. So as church this should not lead to any deportation,” he said.

He said father Viatuer was non-violent, but humble adding that right now he was still preaching in Rwanda and that the Catholics would continue fighting till the priest was brought back to Zambia to continue preaching salvation and peace.

Meanwhile, Alliance for Development and Democracy (ADD) official on the Copperbelt said that the PF government wants to arrest and deporting leading figures so that it could silence the opposition and the church for its role.

Joseph Phiri said the Church and the opposition was playing its rightful role of offering checks and balances and speaking for the poor.

Mr. Phiri has since urged the PF government to revoke the deportation of Lundazi Catholic Priest Viateur Banyagandora.

Fr Banyangadora was deported to Rwanda for offering a sermon that suggested the poor were getting poorer and the rich were getting richer in view of the poor cotton price which has reduce from over K3,500 last year to about K1, 600 under the PF government.

His deportation prompted protests from the Catholic Church who were demanding the revocation of the deportation.

The church has since developed a mocking phrase for the Patriotic Front acronym (PF) saying Paya Farmer [kill the farmer], Paya Father [kill the Priest], Paya Foreigner [kill the foreigner].


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