National Guidance and Religious Affairs Minister Reverend Godfridah Sumaili has called on pastors to counsel opposition political party leaders who congregate in their churches so that they can stop insulting President Edgar Lungu.
And Rev Sumaili says churches which are guided by the word of God support the government of the day.
Speaking when she featured on the ‘Interview’ programme on Millennium radio, Thursday, Rev Sumaili said it was unacceptable for opposition political leaders to insult President Lungu on a daily basis.
“National guidance is not just for the ruling party, its national guidance for the nation. For the private sector we have to guide them, for the government, for the opposition, for the families, for the church we need to guide. Its very unfortunate that we have had situations where leaders of the opposition have been insulting even those that are in government using disrespectful words, not really honoring and respecting those that have been given authority by the people of Zambia to serve the nation. The constitution is to guide everybody and many times I have called upon the church because some of these political leaders they claim to be members of certain congregations,” Rev Sumaili said.
“So I have called upon even the leaders of those churches to sit these opposition leaders down, guide them in the right way. We do not want our children to be defiled with insults, we do not want our peace to be disturbed, we do not want to see violence and that is why even as a ministry especially myself, I have had the opportunity of sitting down with the opposition, key leaders in the opposition and have discussions with them. Obviously we have to do these things with sensitivity, we do not have to publicize that I have sat with so and so because it is with that understanding of discrete council, I am giving them council, I am guiding them. But it is part of our work that we maintain peace that the leaders conduct themselves in an integrity way. I have to sit with the President, I have to talk to the cabinet ministers at various levels, talk to the IG police, we have had to do that.”
And when asked why some clergymen had been seen taking sides on various issues, Rev Sumaili said churches are guided by the word of God to support the government of the day.
“We are guided by the word of God and as I am speaking to the church, we have to really uphold the word of God. The word of God is very clear on this matter. Timothy speaks clear that as a church, we have to pray for those that are in authority which means that the church is not suppose to be partisan because a church, you have different people and you have members of the ruling party in your church, you have the opposition in your church. So you cannot afford to take sides. Besides we are guided by the word of God that we are suppose to support the government of the day,” Rev Sumaili said.
Meanwhile, reacting to accusations that her ministry has been only championing the interest of the Christian community leaving out other religions, Rev Sumaili said Zambia is a Christian nation.
“It is not true, we have to really respect the law of the land and in the constitution, its very clear we do not apologize that we are a christian nation. This is what the people of Zambia have chosen. However the constitution is very clear, it respects the religious beliefs of people, you have a choice to worship under Islam but the only thing is that you allow to worship your God but let it not be against the laws of the land. We are embracing everybody but we are very clear we are Christian nation,” said Rev Sumaili.