On 27th February 2010, catholic dissident Priest, Father Frank Bwalya convened a Conference in Buchi Hall, Kitwe, dubbed the ‘Save Zambia Campaign’ with the sole purpose of kick-starting a formal and nation-wide campaign against the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) and its President Rupiah Banda.
Bwalya who was recently dismissed from Radio Icengelo for his inflammatory and hostile campaigns against government and its leaders, proceeded to register a civic organization known as Change Zambia Ltd.
At this conference, he only managed to get his Catholic Brethren, Simon Kabanda and his Citizens’ Forum. Citizen Forum was formed by a wide and diverse group in 2005, but has now remained a mere shell squatting at a Corporate Office with Kabanda as literally its sole leader and member.
Two other organizations, Transparency International (TIZ) and the recently deregistered, Southern Africa Centre for Constructive of Resolutions and Disputes (SACCORD), formed part of the initial partner organizations.
The bulk of tradition NGOs shied away fearing a repeat of last year’s failed campaign where unknown motives from known string-puppeteers drove the agenda. The campaign collapsed over disputes of money and member organizations realizing that outsiders were pushing a hidden agenda.
Father Bwalya who is not a stranger to controversy proceeded to make declarations that the groupings will embark on a Red Card Campaign (RCC) against President Rupiah Banda and the MMD.
The campaign is designed to oust the MMD from power by rallying citizens against it. The committee adopted what might be deemed as old and tired methods of – honking, wearing of red arm and head bands, and whistling.
The organizations hope that when the campaign gathers momentum, they will hold mass public rallies and demonstrations until President Rupiah Banda is ‘’red-carded out of power!’’.
Clearly these activities are outside the ambit and realms of any NGO. Other than appearing illegal from the outset, the campaign could be justified if it was commenced by political parties whose legitimate role is to contest for power in an electoral process.
The questions to be asked are; why is Father Bwalya keen to push the MMD out of power? What and who do they want to replace the MMD?
ENTER ARCHBISHOP TELESPHORE MPUNDU
It was therefore strange that at his press conference held on 3rd March 2010, at Kapingila House, Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu crafted remarks that praised the heroic work of Father Bwalya, Father Mwewa, Father Devenska Mia, and Bishop Duffy, the very priests that are a subject of numerous complaints for their unguarded and furious comments against government and its leaders.
Are these priests conducting themselves in this careless manner, doing it with tacit approval of Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu?
Archbishop Mpundu was quick to embrace the ideals and utterances of these indiscipline priests extolling their courage and bravery and praisng their remarks as those that protect the ‘poor’.
Therefore a press conference billed to answer and respond to Former President, Frederick Chiluba perceived attacks on the church on Catholic Marriage, Holy Eucharist and the relationship and the children sired by Michael Sata with the Archbishop Mpundu’s sister, quickly degenerated into severe derogatory and demeaning attacks against, Former President Fredeick Chiluba, late President Levy Mwanawasa, the Anglican Church, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Lt Gen Ronnie Shikapwasha, Protestants and Evangelical Churches and Government.
His remarks exposed Archbishop Mpundu’s personal disdain for Chiluba who he termed without bothering to produce evidence, foundation or justification as a ‘’sworn political adversary of the Catholic Church’’!
Archbishop Mpundu address was characterized by constant demeaning references to his ‘’ enemies ‘’ and ‘’enemies of the Church’’.
HIS DEFENCE OF THE CREDIBILITY OF THE CHURCH
Archbishop Mpundu chose to defend the sinful conduct of PF leader Michael Sata who enjoys an unknown relationship with his sister Petronella Mpundu. He ignored to discuss the circumstances under which Sata sired his two nephews but unwittingly chose to defend the rights and place of single parents in this age.
Sata who is smarting from a divorce from his ‘’first’’ wife, Margaret Sata and married Dr Catherine Kaseba at Pamodzi Hotel on new year’s eve of 31st December 1994, takes Holy Communion.
The Church strict teachings on marriage forbids, divorces except under exceptional circumstance. Under its teachings Marriage is indissoluble if it is contracted freely and under the Church Rules and Regulations.
However in the circumstances of Michael Sata, the Church seems to have thrown away its strict teachings on the Holy Eucharist and its administration.
Recently, during the Kasama By-Elections, Sata is said to have formalized his marriage to Petronella Mpundu through a ‘’Chombela Ng’anda’’ in Kasama. Sata’s vehement denial of this tradition celebration seems to be motivated by his failure to inform his wife, Kaseba and the Nation!
Following Chiluba’s revelation of this marriage which relationship Archbishop Mpundu deem to be over 20 years old, it has emerged that in fact, Sata had first sired a child with Petronella’s elder sister ( known as Margaret- by press time, the authors were frantically establishing the correct name), who was whisked away and sent to Canada following the embarrassing matter. It is then that Sata moved to Petronella where he has two children.
It was expected that Archbishop Mpundu would tackle this and the matter of Petronella.
Archbishop Mpundu neglected to elaborate how Mr. Sata is allowed to partake in the Holy Communion under these murky circumstances especially that he called the Press conference to defend the integrity and credibility of the Church.
He also failed to describe the relationship between Sata and his sister. Is there a marriage? Is it a mere adulterous affair? What is the Church’s position on a matter that is publicly known? If marriage is indissoluble, what is the status of Sata’s first marriage in relation to the church? What is the position of his contracted marriage with Dr. Kaseba? And did Sata recently contract a new marriage in Kasama?
ATTACK ON THE ANGLICAN CHURCH
In his quest to show and demonstrate to Chiluba, the immovability of the Church from its teachings, Archbishop Mpundu chose to attack the Anglican Church ridiculing its break away from the Catholic Church.
He chose to recite the Catholic History on the matter that claims that ;
‘’In the 16th Century, King Henry VIII of England wanted a set of Rules, especially for himself as King with regard to marriage, but when the Pope said an emphatic no, the King broke away from the Church of Rome top form what is now called the Anglican Church. Dr chiluba doesn’t seem to know or appreciate this historical fact.’’
Archbishop Mpundu neglected to inform his audience that this period is referred to as a dark period for the Church. It’s a shameful period for the history of the Catholic Church as it enforced murders, burning ‘heretics’ alive at the stake, tyranny, widespread wanton attacks against citizens and all these activities sanctioned and practiced by the Church.
It is for this reason that the Church still calls for a separation of the Church and State.
King Henry used his personal issue to pull out members that were widely fearful of a Church that had departed from God and the teachings of Jesus Christ and harboured extensive disaffection for the Church.
The rebellion against this Church was preceded by break away of protestants.
It is inconceivable to understand that his statement read at this press conference was written for a man that occupies such a lofty position in the Church. It appears to be the work of an excited priest such as Father Bwalya.
ATTACK ON THE LATE PRESIDENT, LEVY PATRICK MWANAWASA
The torrent of attacks could not save even a departed man. Archbishop Mpundu opened with a tirade of attacks on President Mwanawasa disclosing that he refused to mourn him when he died because President Mwanawasa held him as ‘’a member of the PF and Bishop no.1 of the PF’’.
Archbishop Mpundu further disclosed that he refused to participate in a national program called at the height of sensitive national grief.
Zambia National Broadcasting Cprporation(ZNBC) had with genuine ingenious organized a program titled ‘’Legacy of the deceased President.’’. The program was designed to remember the late President at such a difficult time for the nation. The nation was in heightened grief, Mwanawasa’s family desolate, and political opportunist on the ready. ZNBC sought the voice of reason, the voice of compassion, and the reflection of wisdom at such a sensitive period for the Nation. They approached a man deemed to be Head of the Catholic in Zambia – Archbishop Telesphoe Mpundu.
He chose to refuse to participate for reasons we now know were petty, personal and driven by hatred against Mwanawasa.
Yet Archbishop Mpundu had collected two tickets for his Bishops from Mwanawasa to enable the prelates attend the funeral of that great shepherd, Pope John Paul II in Rome, Italy.
In this speech at this fateful press conference, Archbishop ridiculed and dwelt on Mwanawasa’s legacy claiming that there is no legacy but ‘’a figment of a fertile imagination’’ by known persons. He said the Legacy was being promoted ‘’by a clique of known persons whose duty it was to retain power or ascend to power.’’
He poured so much scorn on Mwanawasa’s legacy that you would be persuaded to remind him that his brother-in-law, Michael Sata spends inordinate times extolling the virtues of Mwanawasa’s legacy and he has chosen to single-handedly champion it to achieve immediate political benefits from some members of the family that are aggrieved with President Rupiah Banda.
ATTACKS ON PROTESTANTS AND EVANGELICALS
Archbishop Mpundu spent time to ridicule and judge the christian standing of former president Frederick Chiluba. He with public disgust, referred to Chiluba’s anointing at the steps of State House in 1991, and described the churches Chiluba preaches at with discomfort and ridicule;
‘’Isn’t he a preacher of some standing and in high demand to preach at services in some churches? Wasn’t he anointed as soon as he went to State House? Didn’t he stun some everyone by waking up and declaring Zambia a Christian Nation? And making sure that such a declaration was put in a Constitution?’’
His tone was clear. Other Churches are lesser in standing. Their religious practices are also inferior and their standing and their presence in the nation lacking serious and depth. Archbishop Mpundu sounded like a Bishop of the old (16th Century).
He seemed to have abandoned the Church’s recent calls for co-existence with other Christians. The Pope has even gone further and embraced other religions such as Moslems.
His demeaning references to evangelicals promotes divisions and hatred among the separate flocks and as a Shepherd, he seems to be encouraging isolation by petrifying people with his insolent remarks couched in bullying language and tactics.
ATTACKS ON GOVERNMENT
In his statement, Archbishop Mpundu claims that attempts by government to discredit and ELIMINATE individuals will not work.
This is a very grave allegation against government. Is there a plot to ELIMINATE individuals? Is archbishop Mpundu accusing government of plotting murder against its Citizens?
This allegation against government cannot escape notice and Archbishop Mpundu fit it nicely in the speech but designed to cause the intended havoc. In his keenness to show how dark this government is, and paint it in the worst light, he accuses it of engaging in murderous activities!
When referring to Mwanawasa he also ridicules the standing of the intelligence claiming that it will manufacture in its intelligence briefs, lies and create multitudes of sin against enemies and perceived enemies in the run up to next year’s elections! This speech has more mention of ‘’enemies’’ than ‘’love’’ and ‘’peace’’! Phew, what a man of God!
Archbishop Mpundu also reserved special mention against Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Ronnie Shikapwasha who he condemns for occupying a government position even after his ‘’Anti-Catholic rhetoric’’. He also spent time to ridicule Shikapwasha who he termed ‘’Preacher of Hatred’’.
GOVERNMENT WILL SET SOLDIERS ON DEMONTSRATORS AND FAITHFULS
Archbishop Mpundu claims with startling belief that his faithfuls are ‘’angry’’ with government. He claims that he has repeatedly calmed them and persuaded them not to stage peaceful demonstration against government and its officials, fearing that government would unleash soldiers on them and shoot them to death!
Clearly Archbishop Mpundu has chosen to tell blatant lies. Zambia has rarely set soldiers on demonstrators. In its entire existence, Zambia has rarely used the armed forces to quell civic protests and demonstrations.
Frequent illicit demonstrations by UNZA students or the opposition has always been quelled by the civil police.
Most demonstrations in Zambia are peaceful and where protestors ran riot, Police are on hand to restore order and peace.
It is therefore shocking to learn that Archbishop Mpundu fears soldiers will be unleashed on his faithful who he claims are 4million. The reason for this unjustified alarm to his flock is yet unknown.
His mindset his clear, he constantly refers to government in his speech as ‘’aggressors’’, and ’’enemies’’.
Is the Government of the Republic of Zambia at War with the Catholic Church?
Archbishop Mpundu’s mindset is dangerous for a Shepherd to harbour as he will be quick to abuse his position and mislead followers.
A small matter of marital infidelity requiring no more than a simple explanation as detoriated into a political storm exposing Archbishop Mpundu’s activities, and his lieutenant’s anti-government schemes.
A matter that should have been buried is now flaring exposing a man condoning the sinful practices of his brother-in-law.
When his Pope has spent time to clean the soiled image of the Church accused of numerous allegations of Child abuse and homosexuality practices by its priests, Mpundu seems to be practicing the very cover-up tactics his Pope his fighting.
This is a matter for the faithful. If it were upto ordinary mortals, the calls for his resignation would be louder than the tolling bells in his church.