The Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC)_ Issued a pastoral statement  recently in which they raised several pertinent issues, which should help Chatolics and Non Catholics of good will to reflect on and also as food for thought as we approach august 11 2016 and as political campaigns gather momentum.

The KEY statement in that pastoral letter is “ours is unity in diversity and we need to thank God for that”. Zambia has 73 tribal groupings but for that past fifty years we have lived  as one united people without any conflicts and this has been made possible by the great mercy of God the Father and the creator of all.

Some of the issues the bishops have raised in their statement are

> That the police musts apply law and order equally and not selectively as seen in the past

> That youth  should not be used as tools of violence

> That the media coverage be fair to all

> That Christians  should use t heir prophetic   voices and denounce violence

> That amendment  of the  constitution is good move,  but what next?

> That a dangerous phenomenon is emerging in our country and that is tribal or regional politics

> That articles in the constitution that ar5e subject to referendum be addressed  cautiously.

>  That District Commissioners as civil servants should be seen to be non partisan

The bishops  end their pastoral statement  with a prayer from St Francis of ASSIS

Lord make me an instrument of y our peace, where there is hatred, Let me sow love, where there is injury, pardon, where there is doubt,

Faith, where there is despair, hope, where there is darkness, light

Where there is sadness, joy.

> O’ Lord divine Master, grant that IL may not so much seek to be consoled

So as to console; to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to

> Love, For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are

Pardoned, it is in dying  that we are born again to eternal life”

In short the  Bishops message is that there need for political tolerance because that is what multipartism  is all about.


It means accepting  and valuing   peoples differences without harboring  prejudices. It is important  that everyone  in a democratic  society stands up against intolerance. Sometimes it might  be un comfortable, because the person  expressing  prejudice  might be your friend or neibour. But silence  allows  these prejudices to go unchallenged. If people  who express  prejudice  think  everyone   agrees with them, they may continue  to express  them and to convince  other people that they are right in their thinking. It is important  therefore that  citizens  educate  each other  in a democratic society. Prejudice destroys community, divides the people and creates  an  “ us versus them” attitude which is very dangerous.



One of the most fundamental principles of a free democratic society is that every one, no matter how rich and powerful, is  equal in the eyes of the law. That  is why sometimes the image  of  justice  is depicted  as having  a blindfold  covering. If however people do not have faith in the  law, and t hat if the laws are not applied  fairly and equally to all, they will lose faith in the democratic system and the end result may be a revolution. A democratic government is a two way  street. The powers  to govern is transferred  from the people  to the elected  officials. In  the voting  process all people  are equal because each person has one vote.

Then when  the elected officials  decide  on the laws to  govern the society, these laws must be applied equally and without prejudice to each group and each individual.


The public media  either print or electronic must provide  equal access to all participating  political parties in an election.  The right to freedom of expression can be infringed upon if access to public media is restricted especially during election.



For those Christians who are active in the political arena, they ought to remember what St Paul said to the Corinthians and you are ‘ambassadors of Christ” in whatever field you choose to  serve society. If you are a teacher, a doctor, en engineer, an accountant or what ever, you are an ambassador  of Christ in that profession and you ought to promote Christian values of love, justice, concern for the poor, kindness and indeed, tolerance and avoid the use of vulgar and demeaning  language  against other tribal groupings. It is important at t his point to remind the Hon Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Government Spokesperson Hon Chishimba Kabwili  MP  the Name “ JESUS CHRIST’ is Holy and pure and should not be smeared with mud and the dirty of  Zambia’s politics. Politics therefore offers a rare opportunity of  providing  servant leadership. Unfortunately  people like Hon Chishimba Kabwili,  don’t know this truth.

Those Christians who are active in political life should be guided by the Gospel values of respect for human dignity, human rights, the common good, social justice and solidarity but over and above all concern for the poor and non violence.

The words of St Paul in 2 Cor. 5;24 are indeed very inspiring  , where he says, men and women in different spheres of life, whether working as teachers, Doctors in health centers, or in the field as agricultural  extension staff or in indeed as political party organizers, etc etc, are all ambassadors of Christ and are expected to bring in those fields Christians values of love, justice, kindness, faithfulness, concern for poor etc and this  should be the reason why Christians should choose  political life.

In the Catholic Church we have a hymn which goes like this

Let all that is within me, cry holy,  let all that is within me cry holy  , holy, holy, holy is the lamb that was slain, Let all  that is within me cry mighty, let all that is within me cry might, mighty, mighty, mighty is the Lamb that was slain, Let all that is within me cry risen, let all that is within me cry risen, risen, risen, risen is that Lamb that was slain, let all that is within me cry Jesus, let all that is within me cry Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is the Lamb that was slain”,  The name Jesus is therefore Holy and pure, because there is no any other name in Heaven or on Earth greater than that of Jesus, because all Authority has been given to Him  and Him alone and therefore  his name  not be used for funny and to ridicule others.

In concluding my reflection of the ZEC pastoral statement I what to remind  our political leaders

That indeed, it is only in pardoning others, that they will be pardoned and the starting point of pardoning  others is by  ‘ tolerant” to  divergent political views.



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