Civil Society for Constitutional Agenda (CiSCA) board chairperson Bishop John Mambo says government should abolish the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs and the National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation because they lack relevance.

In an interview, Bishop Mambo said the Ministry and the national prayer day were created out of excitement by President Edgar Lungu, adding that they have failed to deliver according to expectations.

“The National Day of Prayer is also not relevant. It does not play its relevance because we pray daily it’s not like we boycotted, it should be a day of giving and it’s the whole day praying about the house of prayer and that. But the following day, the politicians will be insulting each other as usual; they will be calling each other names. Look at the lips of those in leadership. If that Ministry is to be relevant, it means that my sister, Rev Sumaili, has a task in her hands because she has to advise the President on the language, the ministers and all that. The cadres who have hijacked the rule of law in this country, she should advise them! If this Ministry operated, according to expectations, we would have now been saying that Zambia has transformed! But that’s not the case; the President to-date fails to interact with his opposition counterpart. She [Rev Godfridah Sumaili] should have advised him on such matters as well,” Bishop Mambo said.

“You know, I have heard her on Sunday Interview [on October 14] saying that stealing is bad. Look, Jesus used to point out the wrongs and say, ‘you are a thief.’ She shouldn’t just say, ‘stealing is bad,’ let her say that, ‘this government is stealing and that is bad.’ If I have stolen, she should point out that Mambo has stolen, then she should call Mambo to repentance. This Ministry should not have been created to start with. It was created out of excitement from the President. But now, all the Ministry is doing is consuming tax payers’ money instead of giving direction to the country! Rev Sumaili should have been given a Ministry somewhere else. She is qualified to head a ministry, but not religious affairs. So, you don’t just create a ministry just for the sake of creating it. This Ministry has failed Zambians! Because even this day of prayer, are the three mother bodies going to have one voice? Government should subject itself to the body of Christ.”

He added that government should subject itself to the Church and seek guidance and reconciliation.

“…Not the other way round where they want the body of Christ to subject itself to government. It should have been each one of us being religious advisors by them drawing strength on what they need to do from the Church. The Church has been in Intensive Care Unit, sleeping, and as a result, politicians have taken advantage of us, they are even insulting and calling us names! In the past, insulting church leaders was a death sentence in itself. From inception, I was one of those who opposed the establishment of the National Guidance and Religious Affairs Ministry because the Church mother bodies, if you are doing their job, then you are supposed to have the self-regulation of the churches,” explained Bishop Mambo.

“We know that there are those who are taking religion as a source of their livelihoods, lots of them. But if you are called to God, you will realise on a daily basis that you are not an angel. We confess our sins, our weaknesses on a daily basis. Now during our days, we had the traditional leaders who would talk to the young people to avoid doing what was wrong. We cannot leave out traditional leaders today. That’s simply values because you cannot enforce national values from a ministerial position. It cannot happen. People cannot be subjected to national values; these have to be taught at a tender age.”

President Edgar Lungu gazetted October 18 every year as a day of National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation, whilst also establishing the controversial Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs.