President Edgar Lungu says the violence that has rocked Copperbelt Province has been exacerbated by fear-mongering and superstition from a few group of preachers.

Speaking during the official opening of the Sub-Regional Consultative Meeting of Catholic Bishops of Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe held at the Family Legacy Lodge in Lusaka, Monday, President Lungu charged that
there was a new movement of deceptive preachermen, wolves in sheep’s clothing, who were planting seeds of discord in the country.

The Head of State also expressed concern at what he termed as a worrying trend of members of the clergy seemingly getting embroiled in partisan politics, in apparent reference to South-Africa based Nigerian prophet Andrew Ejimadu popularly known as Seer 1 who has accused government officials of accessing supernatural powers to attain power.

“Lately, here in Zambia, we have witnessed a growing and worrying trend of men of God getting embroiled in partisan politics. Also of concern is a new movement of deceptive preachermen, wolves in sheep’s clothing, who at best help to plant seeds of discord in the country with their strange practices. Arguably, the situation in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia has to a larger extent been exacerbated by fear-mongering and superstition coming from this new group of preachers,” President Lungu said.

“The Church is an institution where all Christians, regardless of their faith, run to for counsel. Alas! We see men of God show openly their support for political parties or politicians of their choice. This is an issue, which I hope will be deliberated as you meet. Let me now take this opportunity to wish our dear bishops a fruitful meeting and God’s blessings and guidance during this consultative meeting.”

He also asked clergymen to help to identify fake pastors.

But President Lungu stressed that government was deeply grateful for the role the Catholic Church played in national development.

“In fact, the Church has also been a proponent of peace and unity among its congregants, and the entire nation. The Church has made significant strides by reaching out to all of this country, addressing the needs of our people in a holistic approach. The evidence is there for all to see. One can, thus, go to any corner of this country, both in rural and urban areas, and witness the commendable work the Church is doing in addressing the needs of our people. There are not many areas where one would not find a school or health facility run by the Catholic Church. Therefore, my government is deeply grateful and appreciative of the positive role that the Catholic Church has been playing to complement government’s efforts in national development,” President Lungu said.

And he reiterated government’s commitment to continue cherishing the strong partnership with the Church.

“My government will continue to cherish the strong partnership, which exists between the government and the Church, and looks forward to consolidating this collaboration. I wish to acknowledge that government and the Church both serve the same constituents in an effort to improve the lives of our people, hence the need to nurture this partnership for the benefit of our peoples and our nations. It is my sincere hope that the Church and governments in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe will continue to serve our people with the unbroken commitment. My government will continue to support the Catholic Church in its efforts aimed at promoting development and social service delivery to our people,” said President Lungu.

“The Catholic Church has been a dependable partner for the government in social service delivery, advocacy for development, inclusive governance, as well as respect for human rights and democracy.”