National Democratic Congress (NDC) president Chishimba Kambwili says it is wrong for government to ask already overtaxed Zambians for donations towards the construction of the National House of Prayer which is not a necessity.

And Kambwili has charged that the project was just a smokescreen to aid politicians share land around that area without public outcry.

Last week, Religious Affairs Minister Godfridah Sumaili asked the church, individuals, families and those doing business in Zambia to assist with funds for the construction of the national house of prayer saying the state could not afford to do so while implementing austerity measures.

But in an interview, Kambwili said the Patriotic Front was actually using religion to hide their inefficiencies.

“It’s chipantepante government. They started this thing without a budget line, without knowing where the money is going to come from. How many stories have we been told about when construction of the house of prayer will be starting? We’ve been told these stories a lot of times. But the truth of the matter is that there is no money under this government, they are broke and Zambians must start accepting that…My view on the house of prayers is that government should fund it. Zambians have no money to give anymore, they are so squeezed. The cost of living has gone so high and people are failing to manage. Maybe the investors can manage because most of these people that PF calls investors are people that they do corruption with. So when they do corruption with them by exaggerating the cost of a project, they will ask them to say ‘put 500 thousand on top which will go towards the building of national house of prayer,” Kambwili said.

“But this government only wants to use the ‘Christian’ name to hide their inefficiency, to hide their corruption, to hide their way of doing things where they are protecting people who have killed others, our own Kasongo was killed, how many months ago? From April to date no one has been questioned. Another life was lost in Kaoma but no one has been questioned. Then they go and say ‘National Day of Prayers, Fasting and Reconciliation’, we must be serious as a nation to reject some of these things. This is why we Zambians continue to suffer at the hands of this government because we are easily lured into doing wrong things.”

And Kambwili said he expected people shun the national prayers on October 18.

“You could even see the body language from the government officials who attended that they were even scared that what they were doing was wrong and it was against Biblical principles because you cannot go before God and give offerings before you reconcile with your brothers who you’ve hurt so much. Look at the way I am treated, the police and courts have now become my office and home for no apparent reason at all, for only speaking the truth. So what kind of reconciliation are they talking about that day? Look at the reconciliation that took place in Kenya, the Kenyan President invited all the opposition leaders that he had problems with, they reconciled, hugged and each one of them had something to say and asked for forgiveness from one another. But this is just using the people of Zambia when they want to use them,” Kambwili said.

And Kambwili charged that the project was a smokescreen for the illegal manner in which politicians had shared land around the area.

“Why start a project without a plan? It was just a way of sharing that land there, the land around that area has been shared and if you go and do your investigations, it is all politicians who are there currently in government,” Kambwili said.

Meanwhile, Kambwili said his party would participate in Independence Day celebrations because that was not a PF affair.

“I am not against people celebrating Independence Day. It is for the sake of those who died in the struggle. So as NDC, independence celebrations, we will participate because it’s to honour the people that died in the struggle of independence that they are now abusing. So for me, proper national events like independence, youth day, women’s day, we will always participate. The only thing we refuse to participate in is this hypocritical day of prayer, that we’ll never participate in,” said Kambwili.