Council of Churches says it’s not the duty of the church to pray for empty pursuits. The church says those calling for prayers should first end political violence, depoliticise markets, stop abusing public media and refrain from hate speech
PRESS STATEMENT ON CALLS FOR PRAYERS BY POLITICAL PARTY LEADERS
19th July, 2016
As a response to the call by our leaders for prayers, we would like to remind them of the need to first of all, respect the church’s initiatives of gathering them together to try and iron out the challenges that they faced going forward in their campaigns.
The church has always and continues to pray for the peace of this nation. The church has many times called upon our political leaders to implement the communiqué to which they all consented to on the 29th of March, 2016 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
The politicians made serious commitments on how they would conduct themselves going forward vis a vis campaigns towards the 11th August, 2016 general-elections.
They committed to end political violence, to apply the POA fairly during the campaigns. They committed to strengthening a culture of political dialogue and tolerance within and amongst themselves. They agreed to depoliticize public places such as markets, bus stations etc.
They committed to refrain from hate speech. They agreed that there would be fair coverage on public media for all contesting parties in the elections. These commitments were made in the presence of church leaders, and God was a silent listener to those commitments. However, none of these commitments have been fulfilled.
The church would have been happy to heed the call for prayer had it been prayers to thank God for using our political leaders to calm our nation by heeding the call of the Church in the first place by putting their own houses in order and not to call upon God to stop the violence when we, ourselves are the perpetrators of this violence and we know that ourselves. It is also true that we are rational people and the power is within our hands as Zambians to stop this violence.
We are not against the call for prayers, Zambians are encouraged to respond positively after all prayer is our core business as church. However, a fair deal would have been that when the church calls our political leaders to listen to the church’s moral and ethical voice politicians should honour and respect such a call. It is not fair that the church heeds their call for prayer but politicians completely ignore the wise counsel of Church.
The church’s role is not to pray for empty pursuits but to pray according to the will of God and also to pray for wisdom through our faith.
Rev Suzanne Matale
GENERAL SECRETARY -COUNCIL OF CHURCHES IN ZAMBIA