THE church must endeavour to preach unity and peace in the country and condemn vices such as tribalism, violence and hatred which have the potential to create disunity and despondency, President Edgar Lungu has said.
President Lungu has reaffirmed the declaration of Zambia as a Christian country that remains tolerant of other religions and condemned politics of hatred, retribution and vengeance, vices that have over the past years dominated the country’s politics.
President Lungu said Zambians should remain united and peaceful regardless of their different persuasions and no matter how dearly one believed in them.
The President called on Zambians to pledge and honour God by adhering to the Christian virtues upon which Zambia was founded adding that without God’s love and blessings, Zambia would have been thrown into turmoil after the untimely death of fifth president Michael Sata.
He said the future of the country was under threat especially when the Patriotic Front (PF), the party in Government was engulfed in serious internal succession wrangles that almost left the party fragmented.
The Head of State said had it not been for the Church that continued interceding for the PF and the country as a whole, the country would not have managed to come out of what looked like an intractable challenge.
He said the PF had come out of its succession wrangles a united front winning the presidential election which would not have been possible without the intervention of the church in the wrangles the ruling party went through after the demise of president Sata.
“For those in politics and in Government in particular, we are satisfied that we have a reliable partner in the church as we advance our efforts at nation building. Let us encourage interreligious dialogue for it has made Zambia a unique country as a peaceful nation. I invite the church to do more to heal the nation by challenging vices such as tribalism and violence among others. Let me re-affirm that Zambia shall remain a Christian nation tolerant of other religions. Let us always hold each other’s hand and spread love and not hatred, not retribution and not insults,” President Lungu said.
The President said last month’s presidential election was a defining moment for Zambia’s democracy and that he was dedicating his leadership to serving Zambians as was envisaged in the PF vision.
He said he strongly believed that it was not possible for Zambians to create a more just and caring society which was united in peaceful commerce, politics, religion and other spheres of life.
“…but is possible only when love rules. Not hate, not vengeance. To my colleagues in the opposition, I challenge you to join me to understand when we serve. We are dedicating ourselves to God, family and the country,” President Lungu said.
The Head of State said it was important for Zambians to hold dearly the core values that united the country than that which was dividing citizens.
“I invite you to the concept of a loyal and patriotic opposition and correspondingly, I promise you the same because in the final analysis, there can only be one Zambia and one nation,” the President said.
And Trans-African Theological College Principal Reverend Adrian Chalwe said Zambia had continued to enjoy it political stability since independence but that the country was lagging behind in economic prosperity because of lack of hard work. He said Zambia was enjoying peace, a commodity he said other countries in the world did not have and should therefore thank God and work hard for the country to prosper.
He said it was important that the unity the country was enjoying was protected and advised that democracy entailed that citizens could live in unity even in diversity because when differences occurred, people often disagreed with respect.