‘The Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) pastoral letter was written in good faith because it raised issues which bordered on national development and unity which Government will always pay attention to, State House has said.
Special Assistant to the President for press and public relations Amos Chanda said President Edgar Lungu was alive to issues such as job losses, the need to maintain peace during elections as well as the Constitution to which government had already put measures to ensure that the issues raised were addressed accordingly.
He said president Lungu would always listen to sensitive suggestions such as the ones raised by ZEC because his Government welcomed divergent views from stakeholders such as the church which would ensure smooth governance of the country.
“President Lungu has acknowledged the letter from ZEC and is happy with its contents because they raised issues which cannot be ignored as they are sensible recommendations and suggestions which should not be ignored as they border on the nation and has pledged to act on these recommendations accordingly.
“Issues of the Constitution, job losses and the need to maintain peace during the elections are at the heart of the President and Government is committed to ensuring that its promise to the Zambian people on the Constitution is attained. Governmnet is committed to ensuring that political violence comes to an end and also to harmonise the operations of the mines so that they do not continue to put labour on the frontline for solving challenges,” Mr. Chanda said.
In its pastoral letter, ZEC noted among other concerns that the culture of political violence in the country each time there were elections did not depict a maturing democracy. The pastoral letter charged that some Zambian politicians were still suffering from a gross hangover of a one-party State mentality where the essence of political competition was seen as the quest to annihilate their opponents completely and at all cost.
ZEC called for genuine commitment to democratic values from all political parties and that all political leaders should renounce violence and hate speech.
ZEC also noted that the role of the church was to be the conscience of the nation and challenged Christians to use their prophetic voice in their communities to promote unity in the country.
ZEC also urged churches to refuse any politician to use their churches and liturgical functions as campaign forums adding that the church must strive to ensure that the gospel values of love, reconciliation, tolerance, social justice, fairness, the common good, and equality were promoted in our political and economic life.
ZEC also denounced tribalism and regionalism which it described as a new dangerous phenomenon that had cropped up in the Zambian.