Chief Mukuni of Southern Province says it is unheard for a Head of State to accuse the Church of being political just because it is not supporting his cause.

On Saturday while officiating at the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches and official opening of the 31st General Conference of the Council of Churches in Zambia, President Lungu charged that the Church was being political over dialogue.

“As government, we look forward to the Church to foster unity among the people of Zambia. The Church should be in the forefront sowing seeds of love and not discord. I’m saying this in light of what is going on. The Church wants to become political, but please don’t be political. We have an institution that we established ourselves in ZCID (Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue). So for the Church, come as Church not as politicians. Those in the church that want to come into politics, they must come and we will treat them as politicians,” said President Lungu.

But speaking when Bahati member of parliament Harry Kalaba paid a courtesy call on him at his Palace on yesterday, Chief Mukuni said it was sad that the President had turned against the Church “simply because the body of Christ had opted to stand for the truth”.

“It’s sad that you can see the President rebuking the Church, it’s unheard of for him to say they are becoming political. [How is it that] they are not political when they support his cause, when they stand for neutrality or they are on the right side of issues he says ‘they are being political, let them come out of there so that they become politicians’. That’s very very sad,” Chief Mukuni said.

“We only have one country which is Zambia, but my only disappointment is that I think as Zambians I didn’t know that our gullibility went this far, I used to think that we would not take in the nonsense in Zimbabwe that was happening sometime back. I used to say that Zambia would stand their ground and say ‘no! Here we stop’. Now I realise that we can be stretched to the extent where we can even break. But I am not one of those, I always stand for what I believe is right. When something goes wrong I always speak out my mind.”

And the traditional leader who is also a successful businessman said it was true that the Chinese had taken over control of the national broadcaster.

“The state of affairs is there for everybody to see that we have problems, where even ZNBC has been taken over. Even though the Chinese keep on saying it has not been taken over but they have 60 per cent shares in the ZNBC [joint venture Top Star]. They still keep telling us that ‘no we haven’t taken over’. And at the rate that we are actually getting loans from China it’s worrisome, in the sense that our future generation I think we are putting them in a very awkward and very difficult position. Also the public order Act I think it’s a concern for everybody else, whereby you find that for others it’s free for all when others are actually stopped from having meetings. We have situations where they even having to ask for police permission to go to Church. So it’s a sad development,” Chief Mukuni said.

And acknowledging Chief Mukuni’s welcome, Kalaba requested that the Chief allows him to interact with all his subjects.

“Your Royal Highness I am particularly happy that I have come back home here and I have always looked forward to interacting with you. Firstly because your Royal Highness for a very long time you’ve been progressive in the way you’ve been handling issues of land around your Chiefdom. You have minted a lot of accolades because of the way you have distinguished yourself in handling the affairs around here, helping your people and being a beacon of hope for everybody. That is as it should be your Royal Highness,” said Kalaba.

“And I came to ask of you your Royal Highness to permit me when you hear that am in Livingstone to pave way for me to meet and interact with people of the Chiefdom because I know that unless your Royal Highness paves way, you can’t be moving in the Chiefdom with thank you very much your Royal Highness.”