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Be impartial, church leaders implored

By SIMON MUNTEMBA

IT IS wrong and the worst kind of discrimination for some churches in Kabwata Constituency to publicly endorse the aspiring candidate for the UPND in the forthcoming parliamentary by-election when they are supposed to be impartial and non-partisan, a political activist, Reverend Alfred Sayila has said.

Rev. Sayila said it was wrong for the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church, and the Liseli Congregation of the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) in Kabwata Constituency to have publicly endorsed the aspiring candidate for UPND, Mr Andrew Tayengwa in the forthcoming parliamentary by-election.

He said in a statement that he was disturbed to see Mr Tayengwa in the company of President Hakainde Hichilema being presented to the Liseli congregation of the UCZ at Jack compound as a candidate for the coming by-elections in Kabwata.

“This to me is tantamount to officially endorsing Tayengwa as the UCZ choice for Member of Parliament, considering the official recognition he was given. 

“My question to the churches is why other candidates from the contesting parties are not being invited to be presented to their congregations as well? This is the worst discrimination ever seen from spiritual bodies that are supposed to be impartial and non-partisan,” Rev. Sayila said.

He warned that the church risked being implicated in legal ramifications later should the UPND candidate win the poll and when the other contestants decide to petition him for having undue advantage of the church electorate through a calculated move using the presence of his party leader and republican President. Rev Sayila wondered what had gone wrong with the Church in Zambia who follow every ruling party, government and leader. 

“We saw this during the regime of the outgone president Edgar Lungu and we have also begun to see it with the current leadership of the UPND. It is like the Church has become the fishing ground for politicians who have become copycats of each other.

He also said much as there was nothing wrong for the President to worship at any church where his heart took him, there was everything to be suspicious about if it was being done during the time of elections. 

Rev. Sayila said it was equally unsettling for Mr Tayengwa to stand up and tell the church that he lived in that area and that everyone knew him.

Definitely, he said, if he lived in that area and people know him as he claims, was there any need for him to be introduced?  “That is cheap politicking for a man with hidden intentions and ambition.”

Rev. Sayila also urged politicians to desist from using God’s houses and people for their cheap political campaigns. 

He said the Church had a noble mission to preach the Gospel, pray for leaders and guide the Nation, adding that politicians must worship at their churches rather than hopping and roaming all over congregations.

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