A loud call to both the opposition and the party in power. You the opposition do not think when the Priests speak are speaking for you neither should the party in power think they speak against them, no! They speak for the voiceless people.

Lately there is what seems to be a growing trend perpetuated by politicians to view priests who speak the truth without fear or favor as taking sides in the political space, thereby advancing political agendas, this has happened with preceding governments and non has practically succeeded to gag the church from taking its active role of speaking for the weak in society.

The Clergy, mostly those coming from the Catholic Church have no direct involvement in active politics. It is common to find pastors and others in political party structures and some contesting for political office but that is not the case with a serving Catholic Priests, above all they are not in pursuit of material gain for self fulfillment because they are taken care of by the Church.

What happened last week was shocking to see a police call out served on Father Chewe that he should report himself to the police for merely delivering his homily to the congregants .

Summoning the Priest should have not happened in the first place, the withdraw of the call out by the Zambia Police was a good but late decision because the message has already been send and its obvious the church is agitated.

My experience with religious messages is that to a large extent they are delivered analogically or metaphorically and if the listener is not attentive will misunderstand, misinterpret and misapply the teachings.

Just like Jesus Christ once said and I quote, Romans 12:20, “For by doing so you will heap burning coals on his head”. If such a biblical expression is interpreted in literal sense or ordinarily the take away would be disastrous. Therefore its incumbent upon ourselves not to rush in concluding what we hear before we do a thorough in context interpretation, not to pick a part of a teaching but analysing the whole body of a sermon might be helpful.

Like before, only those in power feel offended when the priests speak; not long ago it was Fr Serangati but don’t politicians ask themselves why?

Catholic priests do not advocate for change of government, they advise governments to improve the welfare of the people. Priests are closer to the people and do understand the day to day struggles of the people and they won’t keep quiet when things are not right.

It is just a good thing that they should speak because suppressing the anger of the people can have more eruptive and severe effects on a government which is detached from reality.

The sooner the government and its agents realise this, the better. Threatening people with arrests, insulting them will only aggravate the situation and when the people feel they are not heard they may resort to undemocratic and unlawful ways to get the attention of the government, a thing we should not even think of.
Zambia has been a beacon of peace and should remain one, we all must do the best we can to preserve this peace and even better than we found it.

Constructive criticism should not be misconstrued for hatred or opposition. Politicians should differentiate between the Church and a political club. Not long ago the Catholic Priests and others spoke against the PF regime and it was ok then with the UPND in opposition because they were seeing matters of governance using the same lenses. It is a hard fact that the same Priests today have not changed status, neither have they changed lenses. Its the UPND which has changed status from opposition to party in government, from the back bench to the front seat and it’s likely they can no longer see what is happening behind them. It is therefore only fair for the UPND to accept the fact that the same priests have maintained the same lenses searching for good governance, democracy, the rule of law and justice for the governed.

Calling for a sustainable and habitable environment for the good of all. A government which attempts to gag its citizens only does it at its own peril because it won’t know what is going on whether people are in support of it or not. Essentially governing is done for the people and leaders should listen to what the people are saying through the various available channels of information dissemination, the same way they engage when asking for votes, there is no domineering but engagement is mutual. He who remains stiff naked after much reproof will suddenly be shattered beyond recovery. Trying to prevent the people from talking is infringing on their liberties of expression and speech and it further creates workable alternatives for the people to be heard even louder.

Christianity once suffered serious barbaric persecution and still continues to face opposition anti Christ but it has survived ages to this day. Remember the voice of the people is the voice of God, ultimately the will of God will take the lead whichever way he pleases and no matter what we do. It is for this reason that leaders and all must submit to God as used to be the case with ancient successful leaders who consulted with the priests for direction to rule the people of God just as it is written, when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice but when the wicked rule, the people mourn – Proverbs 29:2. May God bless Zambia and preserve its people and give uncommon love, tolerance and wisdom to those in leadership positions. One Zambia One Nation and One Nation one people.

The author is an advocate for civic rights.