Judicial and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (JAWUZ) president Peter Mwale says it is unacceptable for government to conduct a roll call at the National Day of Prayer just to ensure that civil servants were in attendance.

On Tuesday, Kabwe District Commissioner Dominic Mulenga extended an invitation letter to the District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) in which civil servants were urged to attend the prayers at Godfrey Chitalu Stadium without fail, warning that a roll call would be conducted at the prayers.

President Edgar Lungu gazetted October 18 every year as the National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation.

“As Central Province, our National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation will be held at Godfrey Chitalu Stadium from 06:00 hours to 18:00 hours and will be officiated by His Excellency, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the President of the Republic of Zambia. The theme for this year’s commemoration is ‘facing the future as a reconciled, united and prosperous nation under God’s guidance.’ In this regard, I request that you make sure all teachers attend this important function a roll-call should be done,” instructed Mulenga.

But commenting on the matter in an interview with News Diggers! Mwale said there was no need to force anyone to attend the prayers because Zambians had been praying even before the declaration of October 18, as the National Day of Prayer.

“I don’t think it is in order for people to be forced to go and pray! Us, as civil servants, we pray every day. Even before the National Day of Prayers was declared, we were praying to God. We didn’t even need the day of prayer ourselves because we have been praying everyday due to the suffering that we go through. We know that it is only God in Heaven who can hear our pleas and cries, so the forcing of everyone to go for prayers is not applicable in the civil service. We can’t be forced to pray because we have always been Christians and we have always been praying. So, on behalf of all civil servants, and especially those in the Judiciary, I can confirm that we pray every day because we suffering and we want our conditions of service to change. Everything is just bad, the cost of living, the cost of fuel, the cost of food, the housing allowance that we are getting, the salaries are very low. So, to us we have been praying to God, even before the National Day of Prayer. And we didn’t need anyone to clear it because we have already resolved that we shall believe in the Almighty God,” Mwale said.

“Personally I can’t go for those prayers and I don’t think I will ever attend them because I have always been praying. A genuine Christian prays every day and for us in the Judiciary, we worship God on a daily basis because we know that God commanded the people that believe in him that; ‘you shall worship me ceaselessly,’ so you don’t cease to worship God. I know that people go [to church] on Sundays and Saturdays, but prayer is something that a genuine Christian should do every day. We pray when we are going for work, we pray when sleeping, we pray when we want to do anything and we praise God for everything he has given to us every day. So, we don’t need one special day for prayer because to us, every day is a special day in the Judiciary and in the civil service.”

He insisted that government was mocking God by inviting citizens in prayer when the country had so many unresolved issues.

“Let us not mock God here, I mean, what does it amount to for us to go out there and pray and fast because it’s National Day of Prayer, Fasting and Reconciliation, yet we have so many issues that we haven’t resolved as a nation? Civil servants are getting peanuts for their salaries and they cannot even take care of their families properly, then this nation is just divided politically. And then, today, you want people to come and join in prayers? The same people whose cries you don’t want to listen to? It doesn’t work that way,” said Mwale.