Zitukile Consortium executive director Nicholas Phiri says church and political leaders in Zambia should stop using the name of the church to advance their political agendas and manipulate citizens.

In a statement, Wednesday, Phiri noted a growing tendency by both politicians and the clergy to prey on the religiousness and gullibility of Zambian citizens as a way of securing their personal and political survival.

“We would like to call upon the church and political leadership in Zambia to desist using the church to advance a political agenda that does not add any value to the well-being of Zambia Citizens. Zitukule Consortium has noted with great concern the growing tendency by both politicians and the clergy to prey on the religiousness and gullibility of Zambian citizens to secure their personal and political survival. Citizens are looking up to the leadership of the church and elected officials to provide practical solutions to our many challenges and not empty machinations spiritual or otherwise. The church must never be used by anyone to manipulate citizens. We are not against “reconciliation” among and between politicians if and when they have personal differences, we are however concerned when church leaders begin to facilitate “reconciliation” of differences based on and emanating from principles of leadership and good governance. It is a misnomer to equate stating facts especially concerning public matters to personal enmity,” Phiri stated.

And Phiri stated that it was shocking that members of the clergy would want to reconcile President Edgar Lungu with NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili when for a long time, they had failed to reconcile the UPND leadership with the Head of State.

“Is it not suspicious that a Priest could be calling for reconciliation between the Republican President and Honourable Chishimba Kambwali today for the good of the party when the same clergy failed to facilitate reconciliation between the opposition UPND leader and President Lungu for the good of the nation to date? How was Hon. Kambwali was singled out of the many other PF and former PF members presently not in good standing with President Lungu but were present in the same church during the Michael Sata memorial mass?” Phiri asked.

And Phiri stated that Zambia needs leaders who would address political violence and corruption among others.

“What Zambia needs today is a carder of church leaders, opposition political parties, NGOs and citizens who will guide and impress on the Republican President and his administration the need to address political violence which has become the order of the day, lawlessness among political cadres as seen during the Chakwelamakumbi traditional ceremony in Chongwe over the weekend, rampant corruption among government officials as reported in the auditor general report and an economy growing at paltry two per cent,” stated Phiri.