Main Churches declare Zambia a dictatorship

 

All the main churches in Zambia have officially declared Zambia a dictatorship and have demanded the immediate release of opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema.

The Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), The Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) and the Evangelical Fellowship in Zambia (EFZ) said Zambia, under Edgar Lungu is now an eminent dictatorship.

Meanwhile, the church mother bodies says the PF government is using state institutions to oppress citizens because it does not have the will of the people on its side.

Speaking at a joint press briefing today with Bishop Alfred Kalembo of CCZ, Bishop Paul Mususu of EFZ and Rev Susan Matale, Lusaka Catholic Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu said State House has denied the church mother bodies access to the President, hence the resolve to issue a public statement and declare the country a dictatorship.

“It is in that spirit that we have for several weeks engaged State House officials and sought an appointment to meet the President Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu. Our aim was to bring to his attention, some of issues that are of great concern to the Church. Now that we have not been allowed to succeed along that path, we have decided to issue this statement to let the powers that be and the people of Zambia know our position on what is happening in the nation,” Archbishop Mpundu said.

“Actions by the government of President Lungu in imprisoning the opposition leader Mr Hakainde Hichilema are viewed with growing amazement and alarm… The view that President Edgar Lungu is creating a new dictatorship is fast gaining ground. With the current state of affairs, it is difficult to see how the UPND can easily recognise the legitimacy of Lungu’s re-election in August 2016.”

The church mother bodies wondered why the police had resorted to using dogs to terrorise citizens.

“Hichilema has been in custody since he was arrested in a late night raid on his home by heavily armed Police Service personnel who used unprecedented force and brutality in apprehending just one unarmed citizen. The State Police brought dogs of the German Shepherd breed that defecated in the vehicle meant to carry Hakainde. Under whose instructions were the police behaving in that way? The Inspector General or his Commander in Chief?” asked Mpundu.

“It was unthinkable that a Zambian government would sink so low as to unleash dogs on its people, as the British colonial administration used dogs on us Africans.”

Mundu observed that the PF government was avoiding to address the root cause of the political crisis and tension in Zambia.

“There cannot be national reconciliation and healing through manipulation of the truth. The kind of leadership we have now is one that allows law breaking as long as it benefits the powers that -be. If this is not dictatorship, then what is it? The political leadership must admit that the situation in the country is characterised by tension; the country is polarised. The politicians must not ignore that what is happening in Zambia today is a contest between good and evil. And the Church through its leadership is determined to stand on the side of good,” he said.

“The fact of the matter remains that that the state of the nation today is exactly what the Church it is, namely, a dictatorship in which force and violence are used to intimidate the population and subdue the opposition. Yes, we in the Church leadership are not repentant; Zambia eminently qualifies to be branded a dictatorship.”

Archbishop Mundu observed that the will of the people was not with the current government leadership.

“The fact of the matter is that only leadership that does not have the will of the people on its side or thinks it does not have the will of the people on its side uses state institutions to suppress that same will of the people,” he said, adding that there was no more press freedom in Zambia.

“The presence of 80 radio stations, online newspapers and independent television stations in Zambia does not mean press freedom. Media and press freedom, is about journalists and the media institutions doing their work without fear, intimidation and threats; it is about news editors publishing and airing what they judge as newsworthy for public good and especially holding public office to account.

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