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UPND MUST RESPECT THE CHURCH – MSONI, PULE

By SILUMESI MALUMO and KETRA KALUNGA

I DEEPLY regret the abuse and the vitriolic attacks that have been directed at the clergy and indeed to the church for merely providing counsel to government, UPND Alliance partner All People’s Congress president, Nason Msoni, has said.

He was reacting to attacks on Catholic Archbishop of Lusaka Dr Alick Banda by UPND members for advising the government 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 regime.

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

But Mr Msoni said the counsel by the clergy does not warrant attacks but a wakeup call for UPND to work hard.

“Firstly, we think that it is a taboo and indeed it is regrettable and most unfortunate to answer back rudely to the clergy for merely providing counsel to political leaders and the government in general,” he said.

Mr Msoni said the alliance had gladly embraced the clergy when it opposed lawlessness and bad governance in the country under the Patriotic Front government, and wondered what exactly has changed now.

He reminded the UPND government that Zambia is a Christian nation and the church has a pivotal role to play in providing moral guidance in the nation.

“I am deeply distressed and distraught to note that people have such audacity to even attack the church at the time of Easter.

“In as far as the church is concerned, it is non-partisan and stand to benefit nothing from speaking the truth to all concerned.

“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.

And a clergyman, Dan Pule has advised the UPND administration to listen to advise and focus on governing the nation and fulfilling the promises made and not attacking people who criticise their leadership style.

Dr. Pule, who is a former deputy finance minister said it was folly for the UPND leadership to attack Lusaka Archbishop Dr Alick Banda for giving them counsel on governing the nation.

He said in an interview that it was shameful that the UPND administration have resorted to criticizing the church for expressing its views on the governance of the country but they rush to the same church when they need support.

Dr. Pule said Archbishop Dr. Banda was right when he advised the UPND to focus on delivering on the promises made and not on the mistakes made by the PF regime because they are historical facts that would not help the Zambian people in any way.

He said Dr. Banda had every right to offer counsel to the UPND leadership on leading the people because by virtue of being archbishop he was their representative and that puts him in a better position to speak on behalf of the Zambian people.

“I support archbishop Dr.Banda because as a leader of the flock, he is in the best position to speak on behalf of the people and Zambians are not foolish, they do think so it’s important that the UPND listen to advice,’’ he said.

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