President Michael Sata has been asked to use his constitutional powers to drop all charges slapped on former president Rupiah Banda as a first step towards reconciliation which the country so badly needs to heal the divisions that threaten to disrupt 50 years of peace.
In his Easter message, former deputy minister in the MMD government Alfred Ndhlovu observed that although it was great to see former president Banda and President Sata share the same seat, it was a wishful thinking to state the two leaders had reconciled.
“There is no reconciliation without forgiveness and there is no forgiveness without confession of wrongdoing or sin. Zambians cannot reconcile without seeing one or more people being pardoned,” said Mr. Ndhlovu yesterday.
He said that it was in the best interests of the country to see peace and genuine reconciliation flourish as it would promote unity of purpose and oneness.
“The immediate past president Rupiah Banda, for example, cannot be reconciled with President Sata today by merely sitting next to each other in Church. That is empty and wishful thinking. Mr. Sata must first drop all charges against RB in the courts of law for them to reconcile,” he said.
He said that it was the duty of the Republican President to show reconciliation through forgiveness, adding that the former Head of State did not have any grudge against President Sata and it was only fair that the two leaders start afresh this Easter.
“I stress that reconciliation is a duty which follows forgiveness. RB does not have a grudge against Sata; therefore President Sata must drop all charges against RB forthwith,’” he said
During Easter prayers held at Saint Ignatius Catholic Church, Parish priest Fr. Charles Chilinda challenged leaders in the country to declare zero-tolerance to bloodshed, hatred, mistrust and division.
Fr. Chilinda said leaders should embrace and love one another and preach peace, harmony and reconciliation.
He said this during the commemoration of the Passion of the Christ Service.
In attendance at the service were President Sata, former presidents Kenneth Kaunda and Rupiah Banda, opposition political party leaders Nevers Mumba, Edith Nawakwi and Mike Mulongoti.
Father Chilinda said he was pleased that President Sata and opposition leaders responded favourably to his invitation to celebrate the mass.
“It is a great day for us, as people who have gathered here today rarely do so. When I spoke to President Sata, he gladly accepted the invitation to join other leaders at this service.
“Who would have ever thought Mr Sata would sit next to Mr Banda? And who would have ever thought RB (Mr Banda) would sit next to Wynter Kabimba (Minister of Justice)?” he asked.
The clergyman said it is not the will of God that Zambians should be divided but rather remain united.
“There is too much violence in our country. Political cadres are fighting each other everyday. These are some of the vices that are part of the wounds of Christ,” he said.