Religious affairs minister Rev Godfridah Sumaili says there was nothing wrong with President Edgar Lungu’s decision to go and watch half naked women in Swaziland because Zambia appreciates diverse culture.

Meanwhile, Rev Sumaili says this year’s national prayers will be held in Kitwe.

Rev Sumaili was responding to a question from Roan PF member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili in Parliament on Thursday, who wanted to know if it was a good example for a Head of State from a Christian nation to go and watch naked women.

“Minister, certain traditional acts are unbiblical, for instance being half naked, and also witchcraft. Is it a good example or reasonable for the Head of State from a Christian nation to go and watch half naked women in Swaziland?” wondered Kambwili.

But Rev Sumaili defended the President saying he went to appreciate African cultures.

“We have different cultures in Africa. Swaziland, Botswana, Tanzania and Zambia, have different cultures. And it is in order for us to appreciate our cultures,” she said.

And Mazabuka Central UPND member of parliament Gary Nkombo wanted to know if it was right for the Patriotic Front to continue preaching about prayer and reconciliation when they did not show any practice themselves.

“Honourable minister, it is a fact that prayer without action is nothing. It is also a fact that those who preach one thing and mean the exact opposite are hypocrites… And you want to call us to come and close our eyes at your prayer meeting and yet you stopped us from praying at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross when our leader was released from incarceration. I would like to find out from you madam minister, when your government will start practicing the things they normally say. I’m not coming there until we show steps of reconciling this country,” said Nkombo.

But Rev Sumaili said only prayer could transform Zambia.

“Prayer changes things. What will transform this nation is prayer. I agree with you that prayer without action does not avail much unless mixed with action. If we want this country to be united and for you to be an effective leader, you have to love the people. People are looking at us and seeing our actions. Zambians love God and when they don’t see their leader to the place of God, they will start questioning that ‘is our leader serious about bringing reconciliation?’ Those who aspire to rule this country must show that they love God,” she said.

Rev Sumaili also said that borrowing was productive for the country because even the bible allows it.

She was responding to Katombora UPND member of parliament Derick Livune who said: “The Bible is against debts. Now that the national day of prayer has been called, I want to find out how well the prayers will be received by the Lord if the country is going there with debts that have continued to accumulate?”

In her response, Rev Sumaili said debts were productive.

“I don’t know where that is, were debt is forbidden. Because in the same Bible there is an account of a widow whose husband had died and needed to be helped. She was advised by a prophet to go and borrow containers as much as she could and use them. Madam Speaker, if debt is borrowed, it will bring productivity to improve the welfare and lift the living standards of the people and to strengthen the economy.” she said.

Rev Sumaili said prayers on October 18 would prepare grounds for dialogue.

She was responding to Chitambo PF member of parliament Chanda Mutale who wanted to know if alarmists peddling lies in the country would also be invited for prayers.

“There are alarmists in this nation who are peddling lies. Is there a special invitation to invite these particular individuals to the prayers? Because if we pray as the nation these people will repent and change their behavior,” said Mutale.

In response, Sumaili said prayers would help prepare the grounds for the dialogue process.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us as the nation to come together in unity and pray to our God. They are talking about dialogue, the people demand that their leaders come together and move together. These prayers are so critical to prepare the grounds for those talks that we have been preparing for. As leaders we have a responsibility because we are presiding over people who want us to be together. I encourage all the members of this house to go for prayers on 18th October,” she said.

Meanwhile, Rev Sumaili announced in a ministerial statement yesterday that national prayers would be held in Kitwe.

“It will be held under the theme ‘repentance, promoting peace and reconciliation, consoling national unity in diversity’. Madam Speaker, the national prayers will be held in Kitwe at Nkana Stadium. I encourage all members of parliament in their respective constituencies to come out in numbers and to pray together on this special day,” said Rev Sumaili.