COUNCIL of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) general secretary Suzanne Matale has come under fire for claiming that President Edgar Lungu was careless and perpetrating political violence in the country.
The Patriotic Front (PF) is enraged that Reverend Matale could maliciously criticize President Lungu over political violence which was allegedly being fanned by the opposition political parties.
PF chairperson for elections Jean Kapata said Rev Matale was being insincere by claiming that the political violence that has characterized the country’s political landscape was being caused by the ruling party.
Ms Kapata said in an interview that it was disappointing that the Church could choose to take a partisan trajectory in advising politicians and advised that the clergy should endeavour to be impartial when counseling politicians.
She said President Lungu had always condemned violence and ensured that PF members engaging in violence were arrested and prosecuted because the Head of State did not want the ruling party to be associated with the vice.
She wondered why Rev Matale had been silent each time the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) was allegedly engaged in violence.
Ms Kapata, who is Tourism and Arts Minister, stated that it had become evident that Rev Matale was politically inclined and that was why she had embarked on a campaign to discredit the ruling party on grounds that were unsubstantiated.
Ms Kapata challenged Rev Matale to come out in the open and declare her political affiliation so that she could be treated as a politician and not a woman of God as was the case with other women in the country.
“We are shocked that Rev Matale has decided to cast a blind eye on the UPND-perpetrated violence and has been quick to malign President Lungu over the political violence that has characterized the political landscape.
‘‘It is incorrect to suggest that President Lungu is being careless and promoting violence. It is a fact that President Lungu has been a proponent of peaceful campaigns and he has demonstrated that he abhors violence by expelling PF members who were engaging in violent activities.
‘‘The UPND has been perpetrating violence and Rev Matale has been silent and we have good reasons to believe that she is politically aligned,” Ms Kapata said.
Ms Kapata said the ruling party has had some of its officials arrested and were being prosecuted by the courts of law and wondered why there was inertia on the part of the police to arrest the violent UPND cadres.
She said the PF had become the most disciplined political party under President Lungu and that Zambians should see through some members of the clergy whose agenda was to promote the opposition political parties.
Ms Kapata said if Rev Matale was to be sincere, she should have condemned the violence that occurred in Bweengwa where UPND villagers ambushed and abducted Government officers who were on a presidential assignment in the area.
“Government officials and journalists were abducted by UPND cadres who were wielding crude weapons such as pangas, knives, knocberries and other dangerous weapons and Rev Matale has not found the reason to condemn such barbaric acts,” Ms Kapata said.