We often hear sentiments that we are a Christian Nation, let us also show that in our conduct, atase! former Lusaka archbishop Telesphore Mpundu exclaimed, Saturday, as he lectured politicians on the need for issue-based politics.

And Bishop Mpundu asked politicians to stop intimidating church leaders who comment of the political situation saying they had a right to do so.

Meanwhile, President Edgar Lungu called on the Church to help politicians across the country to be Christ-like and good servants to the people.

Delivering a homily during the installation of archbishop Alick Banda as Lusaka Dioceses Archbishop in Lusaka, Bishop Mpundu said the conduct of politicians of pulling each other down had made politics disgraceful.

“My brothers and sisters, the best test to a person character is how he or she treats people who cannot do harm to them, and how she or he treats people who cannot fight back. Peter was in a very deplorable situation, very humble and could not fight back. True leaders do not treat the weak badly. They do not put others down but lift them up. Christ is a perfect example of a leader, a person who in a moment of weakness, discredits himself or herself. Each morning when I wake up, I pick up a newspaper or any product of media houses. The most attractive headlines, are those of our civic and political leaders who only know how to pull each other down,” Bishop Mpundu said.

“Our political leaders, it is always a race or putting one self up and another down. They think by putting others down, they raise themselves to levels of giants when in actual fact, they have only managed to become dwarfs. And because of that they think they are giants. My dear brothers and sisters, the way we do politics in this country is absolutely disgraceful. Instead of articulating issues that push our development agenda, we opt for dirty personalities. We opt for smear campaigns against opposing political players. We should emulate our hero master Jesus Christ. We often hear sentiments that we are a Christian Nation, let us also show that in our conduct, atase! Show that it’s a Christian nation. In other words, Peter was to be a shepherd of people, it meant that he had to see the needs of the people both spiritual and material. that is the meaning of the word from Greek which was translated as feed. For us Catholic Christians, spiritual and material care of the people regardless of the race or religion is life.”

And Bishop Mpundu called on political players and the public to stop intimidating Church leaders who comment on the political situation saying they had a right to do so.

“I take this opportunity to remind political players in Zambia, inside and outside government, and the general public, that they must cease trying to intimidate us Church leaders. Whenever we make statement and pronouncements about whatever affects our people, its political, by accusing us of harboring political ambitions, this is laughable. I once had problems using the word laughable. You will not relegate us to the sacred role. no way! because we have not just the right, but the duty to pass judgement in situations that affect our people Come rain, come sunshine,” he said.

“Everything borders on politics. When we talk about money for education for our children, it is political, food security, it is political, quality and accessible health care, it is political, employment for the people it is political. We are all politicians, all of us. There is nothing more interesting than talking about politics and everyone has ideas about what they can do given an opportunity. The difference is that we, as Church leaders are not partisan politicians, seeking political power, we do not seek political power. At my age, I am a senior citizen, if I had joined political power, I would have joined partisan politics too and perhaps I would have been a leader now in the foreign mission. By the way, one does not need to belong to a political party to express political opinion. Where is the freedom of expression in this country?”

He wondered why freedom of expression was restricted in Zambia

“Shall I use the exclamation used by a South African nationalist leader more than a century ago when they said cry my beloved country. My beloved country has been crying. Your country and my country has cried. We go along way trying to justify that Zambia is a Christian Nation instead of a nation of Christians. The greatest sign of leadership is service. Calling people Jesus said Peter do you love me, and he said yes. He didn’t say eat my sheep or eat my lamb. He said feed my sheep and feeding is service. When civic and political leaders become wolves, the become haters, they become carnivals that feed on their own species, they become suckers, and drain the blood from those they are supposed to feed. They become parasites. Such leaders are the ones who fail to deliver service, they become a dangerous gang of kleptomaniac. Which means a service of these, by these, for these. Do go out of here saying Mpundu was castigating politicians, no! I’m castigating all of us. This is for you and I, all of us,” said Mpundu.

Meanwhile, President Lungu called on the Church to help politician across the country to be Christ-like.

“Zambia is predominantly a Christian nation. Whether you say national Christian or Christian nation as for me, is neither here nor there. What is important is that since the majority of us are Christians, we should look out for one another. What is important is for the Church to try to make politicians Christ-like. We are human beings, we error, both those in power and opposition, so help us to be Christ-like. So I sat there and heard, the homily, it was not directed at me, it was addressed to all of us, even those who want to take over political power. In short, I’m saying that we are here as government to re-affirm our commitment to the Church. The former arch-bishop Telesphore Mpundu made it clear that we are all politicians and he was right,” said President Lungu.

“I’m appealing to the church that please give us your Children, your sons and daughters to come and join politics so that they realize the importance of politics. Because indeed if you are a Christian, you will not want to bring someone down in order to get into power. A true Christian would like to interact with friends. A true Christian will not use violence to try and get into power. A true Christian will not be proud when the see people killing each other in the name of politics. I want to repeat my earlier call that the Church has got a lot to do.”