Catholic Church not partisan?

By Fikizolo Daka 

I wish to thank Fr.Mulasikwanda from Livingstone for being very objective and call for calm in Livingstone in the forth coming bye-election. In his plea for calm, he made several points which i want to agree with him on several of them except on this point, “As a church we are non-partisan”.

I don’t know what he meant by that statement because from what we have seen and recorded in Zambia, the situation is exactly the opposite of what he thinks.

If Fr.Mulasikwanda meant the church being a collection of buildings, then I accept, but if it means a collection of people including their own priests, then I totally disagree with him.

Let me show why I really disagree with him in totality.

Prior to the 2011 general elections, we saw many catholic priests and bishops abandoning their flock to go and campaign for Patriotic Front.

Didn’t we see Fr, Frank Bwalya sharing the campaign stage with Mr.Sata?

Didn’t we hear and see how Radio Chengelo of Copperbelt, Radio Mano and many other catholic community radio stations become the voice boxes of Patriotic Front Party?

Our memories are still very fresh.Didnt we see and hear how partisan the so called pastoral letters were? These letters were frequently produced to denounce the Rupiah Banda system of rule. These same letters were used as campaign materials for PF party. The priests had suspended the spiritual Homily and replaced them with Political homilies.

I am trying hard to separate catholic from PF but am really failing. When Fr Bwalya was seen jostling in PF campaigns as so called “John Baptist” and strangling chickens from one town to another, we never heard any catholic bishop condemning that. In fact we came to realize that the “HOLY FATHER”, Bishop Tresphore Mpundu was behind that campaign. That is when we later realized that Sata illegitimately Fathered 2 children with Bishop Mpundu’s sister, so Bishop Mpundu was just trying to secure a nice life for his nephews and sister.

Fr.Cletus Mwila and Fr.Clement Mulenga were always making headlines in the Post Newspaper producing remarks which were demeaning RB’s rule while upholding Mr.Sata.

Fr.Nicholas Mulenga became very vocal making news in Zambia in castigating RB’s rule but today he is very quiet when their own “man of action” Sata is oozing dictatorial maneuvers.

How about Fr.Mambwe Mpas,the then Vicar of Mansa who even denounced the road construction by the MMD government but today he is very quiet when their  “holy President” is strangling democracy to make sure he remains the only one.

Fr.Sumasumo, Bishop Ignatius Chama and Fr.Ignitius Mwebe also made headlines in the Post Newspaper spreading the bad news of RB but spreading good news for Sata. Even now they know it in their hearts that they went flat out campaigning for their own tribes mate.

You know, Fr.Chilinda from St Ignatius Congregation in Lusaka was seriously sidelined and hated by some of his fellow priests for showing support for the MMD.Then,I ask myself, why even go to the extent of hating the fellow priest just because he doesn’t share your political opinion? Can we say that is not being partisan?

I know that priests from other parts of Zambia apart from those from Lusaka, Copperbelt, Northern and Luapula showed non-partisanship.But almost all those priests I have mentioned including Bishop Alick Banda of Ndola and Fr.Msipu Phiri of Chipata became clear that they were supporting PF.

These priests were hiding in the pastoral letters which were frequently produced and a lot of Bishops and priests (am very sure) were scrambling to appear as they would make headlines in the post the following day. But today, even in the midst of visible dictatorship which has started developing in Mr. Sata’s rule no or a very weak and unserious pastoral letter is produce with some bishops becoming hesitant to sign and attend.

Now what can we conclude from this: many catholic priests were really very much against the bad rule of RB, but they are never against the visible evil rule of Sata. In fact we have continued hearing some priests from Mansa and Kasama condemning the Tormented Opposition as “not giving confidence” while showing Sata’s rule as a good one which just needs time to mature. Maturing indeed to become autocratic.

So opposition political parties have had double punches, one from government and the other from the Priests who are mostly from Kasama and Copperbelt.

In fact, we see today that Fr.Frank Bwalya is taken as a hero in some sections of catholic community including among priests for his indomitable fight for Sata and against RB.

For the examples outlined I find it hard to separate catholic and partisan politics. Maybe we can excuse some of the Catholics.

“So Zambians keep all these people outlined above in your diaries or brains as they are the architects of all the political manipulations going on in this country.”

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