ZAMBIA should not be destroyed on account of politicians refusing to respect and accept the will of citizens and it is therefore important that those who have lost the August 11 general elections should accept defeat and look forward to another time, Saint Ignatius Church priest Charles Chilinda has said.
And Fr Chilinda has said he does not owe anyone an apology for allowing President Edgar Lungu to attend church service at St Ignatius Church last Sunday.
Reacting to assertions by UPND vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba that the church was compromised, Fr Chilinda stated that politics was not a battle but a contest by political leaders to take up the leadership of the country.
Fr Chilinda said it was the moral and spiritual responsibility of the church to promote unity and cool the hearts of those who were inflamed by the loss of an election, emphasizing that the doors of the Catholic Church were open to all leaders irrespective of their political affiliation.
“Whoever wants to come to church is welcome and in the past, the church has indeed welcomed a variety of leaders across the span of political parties. In fact, it would be nice if political leaders spent a little more time in church. There are no tickets at church for one to be allowed or denied admission,” Fr Chilinda said.
He said hate speech and hatred among political leaders had opened up ‘‘political septic wounds’’ which were causing divisions, intolerance and violence among citizens.
Fr Chilinda said every leader must always exercise servanthood leadership and that those who were in the contest of taking up the governance of the country should at all times leave room for defeat.
He said there shall always be only one President of the country at a time and that those who had lost the just ended general elections should be magnanimous enough to accept the decision and will of the people.
“There can only be one President at a time and those who have not succeeded must accept the results. Once the people have spoken through the ballot, it would only be respectful to accept their will.
‘‘Politics is not something that should be a battle where one has to win at all costs. In politics, one has to win and another has to lose and those that have lost should wait for another time.
‘‘What is needed now is humility which we have seen in former president Rupiah Banda. We saw it with president Michael Sata who accepted defeat and we have seen Mr Hichilema before accepting defeat with humility,” Fr Chilinda said.
And Fr Chilinda said it was ‘‘unfortunate and base thinking’’ for Mr Mwamba to assert that the Catholic Church was compromised on the basis of allowing President Lungu to congregate at St Ignatius Catholic Church.
Fr Chilinda said President Lungu had every right to choose which church he would associate himself with at any particular time and that the Catholic Church was not going to shut its doors on any citizen.
He recalled that UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema had been at St Ignatius Church at his own request before, including Mr Mwamba, and no one at the time accused them or the church of being compromised.
“If tomorrow (Sunday) Mr Hichilema wants to come to church, he is welcome. I do not owe anyone an apology for hosting President Lungu who had requested to be one of the congregants. President Lungu has every right to congregate with us. He is our leader and the church does not take a partisan stance,” Fr Chilinda said.