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DEFEND FREEDOM

THE Catholic Archbishop of Lusaka, Dr Alick Banda has recently come under attack by some UPND officials who have accused him of politicking.

The Archbishop earned their wrath for advising the new dawn administration to fulfill its promises and acknowledge PF projects which were being commissioned.

Archbishop Banda said the UPND must take responsibility of their failures and stop blaming the harsh living conditions on the previous Patriotic Front regime.

He said it is immoral for UPND to vilify the PF while busy launching their projects without shame.

Archbishop Banda did not say anything that is not in the public domain.  He was merely advising the new government during his Easter homily to meet the people’s needs that they were promised during the run up to the August 12, 2021 tripartite elections.

He has seen how the ordinary people can barely meet their minimum food requirements as the harsh economic takes its toll on their meagre earnings.

 The truth is often times hard to stomach especially by politicians and in defence they try to portray those speaking the truth as detractors.

No wonder that the Archbishop has been called all sorts of names, that he is hiding behind the pulpit to deliver his political agenda.

But they forget that the Church throughout the world has always been regarded as a moral barometer that always speaks the truth whether it is for or against the government.

Archbishop Banda is one of the few religious leaders who have spoken out against the arbitrary arrests and detentions of suspects without charging them and taking them to court.

He never said he supported corruption but merely pointed out the wrongs that were being committed by the law enforcement wings of disregarding the human rights of the suspects which was against the rule of law.

We agree with what Mr, Nason Msoni, the All People’s Congress president says, that the counsel by the clergy does not warrant attacks but a wakeup call for UPND to work hard.

Mr Msoni, who is part of the UPND Alliance said they had gladly embraced the clergy when it opposed lawlessness and bad governance in the country under the Patriotic Front government, and wondered what has changed now.

“In a nutshell, my unsolicited counsel to political colleagues in government is that they should desist from attacking the clergy for merely expressing an opinion on matters of national governance and for speaking on behalf of the poor,” Mr Msoni said.

Politicians must realise that the Church is bipartisan, its flock cuts across the political divide.  This is what gives the clergy the right to speak out when they see anything wrong in society – including advising those in government.

The new dawn administration entered government with a commitment to promote fundamental freedoms and it is important that its officials all live up to this ideal.

Let there be freedom to criticise as well as freedom to praise.

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