Former Defence Minister, George Mpombo has advised government to stop issuing reckless statements on the acquittal of second President, Frederick Chiluba.
Speaking when he featured on Radio Mazabuka’s ” Live wire programme,” Sunday, Mr Mpombo said the statements on the acquittal have potential of dividing the nation.
Mr Mpombo said there is need for government to handle Chiluba’s acquittal in a manner that will be acceptable to the general citizenry and unite the country.
He warned that if not properly handled, the second Republican President’s acquittal could affect the economic and social development of the nation.
The former minister said statements issued by government leaders prior to the judgement of Chiluba’s case could have to a large extent influenced the out come of the case.
He also urged government to reconcile with the Roman Catholic Church saying attacks on the church are unacceptable and misplaced.
Mr Mpombo said government should pursue a consultative process and avoid antagonising one particular church.
“An attack on the church is an attack to all Catholics which is not healthy for the country,” he said.
But Chief government Spokesperson, Ronnie Shikapwasha dismissed claims by Mr Mpombo that government has been reckless on the statements on Dr Chiluba’s acquital.
Mr Shikapwasha, who is also Iinformation and broadcasting minister, said Zambia is a democracy which allows divergent views as evidenced by the debate on those against and in support of the Dr Chiluba’s acquittal.
He said the Judiciary operates independently adding that Zambians should accept and respect the acquittal of Second President.
The minister said what is surprising is that even Patrotic Front leader, Michael Sata is accusing government of having influenced the court decision to acquit Dr Chiluba when he, himself (Mr Sata) when he was acquitted by the same court no one accused him of having influenced the judgment.
” People should learn to accept the fact that the Judiciary in court is independent, We know that some people wanted to see the former President go to jail,” said Mr Shikapwasha.
On the attack to the Catholic church, Mr Shikapwasha maintained that the statement he issued in parliament still stands.