National Guidance and Religious Affairs Minister Reverend Godfridah Sumaili says as a Christian nation, Zambia needs to “actualize Christianity”.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Michael Katambo says climate change is having a serious impact on the agriculture sector.

The duo was reacting to President Edgar Lungu’s State of Nation address on national values, Friday.

“The issues of national guidance, values and principles and ethics and also the issues surrounding the religion are always controversial, but we are a Christian nation and we have to be real as a Christian nation. The key thing is for us to actually actualize the Christianity that we are talking about,” Rev Sumaili said.

“The government is in no way trying to control the church. The church is mature, it is able even to regulate itself but our emphasis is that we have to respect the word of God. Let us not allow other things to come in but let us use the word of God as a standard. And also it is very important that we see sanity in the body of Christ that we do not permit those that are coming for economic reasons to run the show in as far as the body of Christ is concerned.”

Rev Sumaili said she was impressed by the progress which Zambia had made in terms of raising awareness on the dangers of teen pregnancies.

“As Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs, we are elated with the progress that his Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu has given to the nation. You know the nation has embarked on a transformation agenda and it is these values that will actually bring to realization that transformation. It is so encouraging to hear about the progress that we have made in terms of morality and ethics, there is a lot of awareness raising that has gone out there in the area of teen pregnancy and also defilements and in the area of patriotism and national unity. The president actually emphasized the importance of us loving our nation and being loyal to our nation, speaking good about our nation. He emphasized the need for us to actually promote Zambian products,” said Rev Sumaili, in an interview with ZNBC.

Meanwhile, Katambo says climate change is real and it is having a serious impact on the agriculture sector.

“Climate change is real and it is really creating a serious impact on the agriculture sector. When farmers now start to apply the good agriculture practices like conservation farming, others they call it farming God’s way because these are the issues that our farmers want to apply. Then we will be able to enhance our food production, because you see national security is food security. So we need to apply these mitigating measures so that at least the agriculture sector will be able to thrive. That is why the President indicated in his speech on the application of values and principles that good agricultural practices on applying conservation farming we would be able to at least mitigate these effects of climate change,” Katambo said.

Katambo also bemoaned the drought that had hit most parts of Southern Province.

“The issues of dam construction countrywide, we are already working with our corporating partners, we have cited in about 16 sites where also we are supposed to increase on the dam construction. This is because of the effects on the rain patterns where in other parts like in the Southern part of the country right now as we stand they are experiencing dry spells and droughts. Their crop is almost withering and almost completely dry. But you see once we have dams within the provinces that are mostly hit, then our farmers will be able to engage into other high value crops other than only be dependent on maize,” said Katambo.

And Kasolo said a lot of amateur journalists were using the journalism profession to do wrong things.

“I am glad that the President has mentioned our ministry as a one that must take a lead there to find a way of disseminating information properly and accurately and most importantly to cut out as many as unprofessional news providers as we can. You know there is a very big difference between freedom of the press and bad journalism. We are not going to allow bad journalism to come and into play and for people to say ‘we know we have the freedom of the press and freedom of expression.’ There are limits and those limits must be applied and observed. The worst thing about information dissemination is that we have a lot of amateur journalists or shall I say citizen journalists who have not been trained at all as journalists and they take up the profession of journalism and do the wrong things,” said Kasolo.

“Frustration is there yes in a big way especially when you find some of the media houses are actually encouraging dissension in the country, that they are encouraging people to rise against the government. That is very frustrating because it is wrong morally and it is wrong legally. So what we try to do is keep away from regulating the media but provide a regulatory framework within which the media can self regulate.”