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Opening churches not mandatory – State House

By AARON CHIYANZO
CHURCHES are free to decide whether to open or not because President Edgar Lungu’s guidance is not mandatory, State House has clarified.
Special assistant to the President for press and public relations, Isaac Chipampe said President Lungu’s pronouncement on churches opening should not be mistaken for a directive for all churches to open.
Mr Chipampe said the decision on whether to open or not still lay with individual churches as long as health guidelines were followed.
“State House would like to clarify that the President has not directed churches to open. Use of MAY CONTINUE being undertaken normally SUBJECT TO ADHERING TO PUBLIC HEALTH REGULATIONS, GUIDELINES AND CERTIFICATION, means that the President is not directing churches, rather he is giving those who still want to congregate during this period an option,” he said.
Mr Chipampe said those who do not want to go to church were free not to go.
He said it was misleading to say President Lungu had “directed” as some people were inferring because the President cannot direct anyone to go to church or indeed to open the churches.
“He, in the first place, did not close any church but individual churches opted to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even now, churches are free to open or not to open their places of worship,” said Mr Chipampe.
Mr Chipampe said in his speech on Friday, the President was giving hope in the midst of despair due to the Coronavirus.
Meanwhile, several churches in Zambia have instructed congregants to wait for further guidance on when to open.

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