YALI president Andrew Ntewewe says the Church should be told that they are not God because their back and forth standing on chairing the national dialogue has been divisive.

And ZCID spokesperson Jackson Silavwe says the Church has on many occasions absconded scheduled meetings with the Centre.

Speaking when he called-in during the ‘Add Your Voice’ radio programme on United Voice, Ntewewe said the Church had gone wrong.

“The back and forth on the dialogue process is not very helpful. In fact, it has been very retrogressive. One wants to believe that as a people we must be able to look at things and what people are thinking. The Church must not be spared, Honourable Silavwe. We must be able to be very clear if the Church has lost the plot, if the Church has not done things correct, these church leaders are but human beings and because they are human beings, they are not perfect! And it’s important that we do not want to have a situation where we are looking at them as God, they are not God! We have to be very clear, and the Church has to be told that, for instance, they are not supposed to be in the midst of causing division in a very important process of national dialogue. The Church has to be aware that the process started some time back,” Ntewewe said.

He added that it was important for the Church to unite the nation and not to divide it.

“If the Church begins on a path of saying, ‘who is credible and who is not credible?’ that is dividing our citizens. We felt that the stance and position taken by the Church is not helpful to our country, we feel that the stance that has been taken [by the church] is very divisive! I think that from the YALI point of view, there is a consensus, and the Church has to be told the truth; they are human beings, they are motto just like ourselves. This back and forth, this pulling of each other in the opposite direction is not helpful. It is important that we go by what we agree at the NDSS at Mulungushi International Conference Centre. It is very important that the Church can unify us and not divide us,” Ntewewe insisted.

And speaking when he featured on the same programme, Silavwe said the Church had absconded scheduled meetings with the Centre, and that they were waiting for a letter from State House.

“In all the engagements that we have had with the Church, the Church has never given us any reason as to why they have come up with the position away from what we have stipulated or what the stakeholders have said that this should be the basis of engagement. The only reason that we have consistently been given is that is that, ‘it is our spiritual mandate to reconcile the nation.’ There has been no any other reason communicated to ZCID directly. Now, as ZCID, because all the meetings that we have had with the Church in our negotiations have been called by ZCID, there have been circumstances where we come to the venue and the three umbrella church bodies do not show up for the meeting, and then when we begin to make follow-ups as ZCID, we are told ‘no, they communicated,” Silavwe argued.

He said ZCID has taken issue with the Church’s insistence to wait for instructions from State House.

“I remember one time we had organized the meeting that [they] confirmed fully, and then when we arrived they didn’t show up. And when we followed it up, we were told that, ‘we are waiting for a letter from State House’ and as ZCID we took issue that, you cannot participate in the process of national dialogue based on the letter from State House, because State House also itself, maybe a subject of discussion under this national dialogue. And besides that, ZCID is an independent organization. That letter, I don’t know if it came to them, but we took issue and we made it very clear that had State House written the letter they had requested for, for them to come in the national dialogue, then ZCID would have pulled out because we do not take instructions from State House,” said Silavwe.