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Council of Churches in Zambia Voices Out Strong Concerns Over Governance of the Country

“Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? Ezekial 34:18 reminds us.”

The Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) believes an unhealthy political and social environment can have detrimental effects on a country, potentially leading to challenges in governance.

When a nation faces widespread issues such as corruption, social unrest, economic inequality, or political instability, it can indeed become more difficult to govern effectively.

A healthy political and social environment typically involves factors like the rule of law, transparent institutions, respect for human rights, and civic engagement.

These elements contribute to stability and enable governments to address challenges and meet the needs of their citizens. Conversely, when these factors are compromised, it can lead to dissatisfaction among the population, erode trust in institutions, and create an environment that is more difficult to live in.

The CCZ reiterates its concerns around matters of national interest such as shrinking democratic space, increase in cost of living, and the continued arrests of opposition political party members.

These issues have been spoken to publicly and privately through engagements with the govemment particularly State House and concerned stakeholders, a situation that has prompted reactions through pastoral letters and press statements as captured in the end-of-year note issued on 2nd January 2023 among other press releases.

This background, therefore, prompts CCZ to share the following.

  1. The Council of Churches in Zambia CCZ wishes to condemn in the strongest terms the redeployment of Mrs. Thandiwe Phiri – Mhende Chief Registrar of Societies. The Registrar’s redeployment raises more questions than answers especially since this development was proceeded by office searches and police callouts.
    We wish to urge the government to uphold the rule of law not just by lip service but by walking the talk. We cannot talk about development if we will say one thing and do the complete opposite.
  2. Political leaders should remember to prioritize the wel-being of their constituents, act with integrity, and follow the rule of law as prescribed in the Zambian constitution. They should endeavor to represent the interests of the people and not their own.
    The political field should not be muddy, less it will be suffocated and make the country ungovernable.
  3. CCZ is taken aback to learn of the many civil servants who have been transferred and redeployed and, in some cases, sent on leave because they were perceived not to be supporting or sympathizing with the ruling party.
    This is not the Zambia we want, and this is not the rule of law we have longed for. We urge office bearers to check their consciousness and defend the law as established.
  4. The continued trend of political party cadres making threats and unnecessary protests at the expense of respecting those in Authority is uncalled for. One wonders where these cadres get such powers, why the police are selective in slapping the law on such lawbreakers.
    Political parties must be issue-based in their campaigns and market themselves without resorting to violence and intimidation of opponents.
    All political parties should live as brothers and sisters in love and unity despite their political affiliations. CCZ therefore, calls on the Political Leaders to tame their cadres and to walk the talk by living by what they say.
    Cadres just like any other citizens should not take the law into their own hands but instead report any anomaly to relevant institutions for action.
  5. CCZ notes with concern the challenges around the Farmers Input Support Program (FISP) that has continued to witness farmers complaining of inadequate inputs and in some cases forced to share inputs.
  6. The CCZ is also worried about the selective way the fight against corruption is being undertaken. We demand that all citizens should be treated fairly and that no one should be above the law.
  7. We encourage the government not to use the police to fight political battles. The continued unprofessional conduct of using state security wings to fight political opponents also sends a wrong reputation on the democracy of the nation.
    While we do not agree with ill sentiments from some political players that cause tension and division in the country, we call for professional conduct of the police service as they manage such incidences. The conduct particularly on Sean Tembo, Fred M’membe, Given Lubinda, and Raphael Nakachinda among other political players is uncalled for. Let us firmly plant, nature and promote human dignity as this will enhance our democratic reputation as a Country.
  8. In conclusion, CCZ expresses its solidarity with the statements by the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ), Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB), and Lawyers Association of Zambia (LAZ) that have equally spoken to matters of public interest. Our call is that the government should pay attention and take hid of the advice rather than being defensive.

Source: The Zambian Observer