President Edgar Lungu says he has come to the realisation that the politics and religion are one and the same thing, adding that he was wrong to condemn the church for being political.

And the Head of State said it was not feasible for him to consult everybody before coming up with the National Day of Prayer and Fasting.

Speaking in Lundazi when he met the clergy on Tuesday, President Lungu said he had humbled himself before the servants of God to receive counsel.

“When you tell us this is wrong, we shouldn’t say ‘the church has become political’. Obviously, I was one of those, in those days, who used to believe that the church was political when they tell me, I remember responding to one colleague who was talking to us to say ‘join politics’ but I think that was wrong. Politics and religion are the same,” President Lungu said.

“We are dealing with the same mankind spiritually. They nourish your soul and make people whole but physically, we are providing schools, health, housing, clean water and so on. So we are brothers and I think don’t be ashamed to talk to us because we belong to one family.”

The President said it was sad that people were not interested in participating in the National Day of Prayer.

“I know some church leaders have said they will not participate in the events of 18th October because ‘the President never consulted us when he declared 18th a national holiday and he said it was going to be a day of prayer’. But I cannot consult everybody. Those church leaders who are complaining that I did not consult them, let them just take that declaration for what it is,” he said.

“We belong to the same body, that’s all I can say but I seek forgiveness because I understand that some churches are complaining that ‘you should have consulted us’. That it was wrong not to consult, but sometimes we make mistakes and we discover that there are consequences but in this case, let us look at what it is, let’s worship together, let’s seek the face of God, that’s all. It is not about Edgar Lungu, PF or anything.”

President Lungu asked the church to pray for him.

“We are here to be counselled, to be guided, to be prayed for so that we keep growing in the body of Christ and the church should continue praying for us during times like now when we are not in a season of politicking and campaigning and saying things on policy. It is time to work, it is time to reflect on the lives of people. So for me, I take this visit, this welcome very seriously,” said President Lungu.

“Time for campaigning, time for politics will come. I have heard you have talked a lot about the development that we can do, I think we all belong to the same body of Christ, a person who is in poor health will not listen to you so I think we need to work together, that is why some churches have taken it upon themselves to help us, and we will keep coming back to the church to work together on these social services.”

And a clergy representative said: “We will continue praying for you our President, just like the Bible asks us to pray for our leaders. We pray that God gives you good health and wisdom together with the first family.”