PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says that he will keep Zambia’s tradition of peace even as the country goes to the polls on August 11 and that the church should continue to play a pivotal role in the governance system.
He said this yesterday in Lusaka after attending a Eucharist church service at the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross. He reiterated his commitment to keep the peace of the country as he did not want to be the first Head of State to deviate from the tradition of peace Zambia was renowned for.
He said Zambia was honoured to host such a historic spiritual event such as the 16th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) conference which started on April 5th and would end on 19th April, 2016.
The theme of the conference is “Intentional discipleship in a world of differences.’’
The Anglican Church has a population of 85 million congregants around the world.
“I will not be an exception to deviate from the country’s tradition of peace just because we are going for an election,” he said.
President Lungu implored the church to approach him whenever they felt he had deviated from doing that which was good for citizens as they were welcome and he was open to listen to them.
He said politicians should take a leaf from the church to learn to co-exist just like the theme of the conference rightly suggested and stated that the church had played a critical role in the country’s 51 years of peace particularly in 1991 when multi-party democracy was introduced.
Mr Lungu said Zambia continued to stand out as a model of democracy and an oasis of peace on the African continent as well as the world at large and that the peace that the country enjoyed should not be taken for granted, stating that it was only possible because of God’s mercy.
He said he would take every opportunity to denounce violence at any given platform and promote Zambia’s motto of One Zambia, One nation.
President Lungu appealed to all well-meaning Zambians to embrace peace, harmony, dialogue and live as one family.
He took time to join in the singing and dancing with the bishops at the church square much to the jubilation of congregants.
Mr Lungu was accompanied by first president Kenneth Kaunda and Minister of Energy Dora Siliya and other Government dignitaries.
Earlier, Anglican bishop of Central Africa Albert Chama called for an observance of a moment of silence for the 25 people who died in a road accident on Saturday.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said he was honoured that President Lungu accepted the church’s invitation despite his busy schedule and that his gesture displayed his humbleness.
Archbishop Welby said there was need for the country to tell stories that would help build the nation and not destroy it.
He said every country had a tragic story but there was need to give prominence to the good.
Archbishop Welby gave an example of one newspaper in the United Kingdom whose motto is “Readers should read something to hate about everyday”.
“My wife and I in the last few weeks visited Berlin, Germany’s historic museum, where the 1933 and 1939 gruesome time of Adolf Hitler took place; and visited Burundi to see how it was recovering from the scourge of a civil war. It is important to keep the peace as it was difficult to return to it once lost,” he said.
President Lungu and Archbishop Welby and the other bishops were given a guard of honor by the Anglican church youth brigade.