AFRICA/ZAMBIA - "No to the creation of the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs" say Catholics and Protestants

Tuesday, 27 September 2016 bishops   ecumenicalism   politics  

Lusaka (Agenzia Fides) - The Catholics and Protestants in Zambia have opposed the establishment of a new government Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs. "In view of the various financial and economic challenges our Country is currently facing, we neither see the creation of the said ministry as a top priority nor a prudent decision. After all, we believe that Zambians want their Country to be a democracy rather than a theocracy", said a joint statement of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) and the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) - the protestant churches’ body.
"We believe that as churches and other faith communities, we have this far been able to exercise our God-given mandate and meaningfully contribute towards national development without having such a ministry. Therefore, both CCZ and ZCCB stand opposed to the creation of the above mentioned ministry", concluded the statement sent to Fides.
The party of President Edgar Lungu Chagwa, the Patriotic Front (PF), who promoted the initiative said that the creation of the religious Ministry would help to regulate the church mother bodies in the Country and that a number of mushrooming churches in Zambia have taken advantage of the vulnerable people in the communities.
The President appointed Reverand Godfridah Sumaili, a Pentecostal pastor as the new head of the ministry of religious affairs. The Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ), which groups the Pentecostal Churches, praised the initiative of President Lungu because it "promotes Christian values and give more meaning to the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 27/09/2016)