Church mother bodies differ over national dialogue roles

The Apostle Council of Churches (ACOC) has written to the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs requesting to be included in the national dialogue process.

In a letter dated June 4, 2018, and addressed to the Ministry Permanent Secretary, ACOC director of programmes, Reverend Charles Miji expressed dismay that the Council of Christian Churches still thinks that the word “church” in the national dialogue is a preserve of the Christian Council of Churches and EFZ, while excluding his faith organization.

Meanwhile, Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue (ZCID) spokesperson, Jackson Silavwe, disclosed that the Centre met with the three church mother bodies ZCCB, EFZ, and the CCZ to discuss the way forward with regard to holding the national dialogue.

“Indeed, I can confirm that the ZCID board met the three church mother bodies namely; ZCCB, EFZ and CCZ on Monday 4th June. The ZCID board presented the resolution of the National Democracy Stakeholders’ Summit to request the Church to come on board in as far as national dialogue is concerned. We define the parameters according to the submissions of the National Democracy Stakeholders Summit held on the 15th and 16th [May] at Mulungushi International Conference Centre on how we can involve the Church in the dialogue process. I must say that the Church took time to listen to our request and promised that we give them time to retreat so that they can get back to us as soon as possible to give a position as to their involvement in this important process. ZCID looks forward to further engagements with the Church mother bodies in this important national undertaking,” Silavwe stated.

But in a letter presented to the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs, Reverend Miji expressed dismay that the Council of Christian Churches was side-lining his faith organisation by excluding it in the list of Church mother bodies.

“Having watched and listened to the interview on Diamond TV on 3rd June, 2018, around 21: 00hrs where the Secretary General of Christian Council of Churches featured, we are of the position that when a national programme of this magnitude that is, the national dialogue is conceived, it must be all-inclusive. And this is what democracy tenets demands. However, we are dismayed that our brother, the SG of the Christian Council of Churches still thinks that when the word church is mentioned to be part of the national dialogue, it is the preserve of the Christian Council of Churches, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia and the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops,” read the letter in part.

Reverend Miji insisted that because of the nature of the dialogue process, it was best that ZCID lead the process, while the church plays the guidance role.

“Madam, you know as much as we do, that the word church means all the followers of Christ. The three mentioned above Do Not represent all the followers of Jesus Christ in Zambia. This is the reason why our Zambian society through the Office of the Registrar of Societies under the Ministry of Home Affairs have recognized and registered other Church mother bodies. We are of the view that the establishment of the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs will obviously enhance and promote the spirit of inclusiveness in the Zambian Church today so that national programmes such as the national dialogue are equitably represented by all church representatives in Zambia,” submitted Reverend Miji.

“Further, we want to submit that the Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue (ZCID) lead the dialogue and the Church be part of it for the purpose of guidance because of the nature of this process. We thank you for your consideration and trust that you will perform your duties without fear of favour because you are God’s vessel to be a unifying factor in the Church in Zambia today. The Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue (ZCID) has presented resolutions of the National Democracy Stakeholders Summit (NDSS) to the three main Church mother bodies, which, among them, advised that the Church be part of the national dialogue to lead reconciliation amongst political leaders.”

         

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