NATIONAL Guidance and Religious Affairs Minister Reverend Godfridah Sumaili says her Ministry is gathering more information about the Freemason Foundation that donated protective equipment to Chilenje market over the weekend.

Addressing journalists at her office, Tuesday, Reverend Sumaili thanked all stakeholders that had assisted government with donations towards the fight against coronavirus but at the same time explained that the State would not work with organisations whose “lines of work were not known”.

Reverend Sumaili said her Ministry had taken interest in the donation by the Freemasons society because it had been established that the pioneers of the same were “keeping secrets” and that government would not associate itself with such kinds of people.

“The Ministry of Religious Affairs would like to encourage all Zambians, religious organisations, and corporate entities to continue to support government efforts. However, my ministry took note of an event that took place last weekend on April 18th, 2020, where the Freemason society took part in the cleaning of Chilenje market and donated some cleaning materials and masks to the public. It is against this background that my ministry has held a meeting with the leaders of this group, to try and understand them. However, according to them, the Freemason is a society with secrets. They are a society with secrets. And Zambia, being a Christian nation, a nation of the light, it is very difficult for us to work with them. We need to try and understand them. They need to come out in the open and tell the nation who they are. That way, we can be able to see how we can move forward. Zambia is a Christian nation that is anchored on the word of God and acknowledges the Lord Jesus Christ over the nation,” Rev Sumaili said.

She said government would not work with them until it understood who they were.

“I had a meeting with the leaders of the Freemason this morning to try and understand who they are and they are a society with secrets. So it’s difficult for us to work with an organization that is keeping secrets, we are a Christian, we are a nation of the light and we want to understand them, that’s why I called them. But they have secrets, so it becomes very difficult to work with them. So as Ministry of National Guidance, we cannot work with them until we are able to understand who they are,” she said.

“One of the things we tried to find out from them is legal standing. So we have to pursue that so that we can see how they registered. Obviously, they should have a Constitution, what is in that Constitution? We have to get to know them so that we can understand them and see how we can relate. As it is, it becomes very difficult. One of the responsibilities of government is to protect the people. so we have to know who we are working with, especially when it comes to giving donations like masks, and all these things, we have to ensure that everything is okay. So I had a meeting with them to try and find out who they are.”

Meanwhile, Reverend Sumaili encouraged those willing to assist government with any donations towards fighting COVID-19 to follow the right procedure.

“We need to give these donations in an organized manner. We need to see how we can put the materials together. We have to be sure that they are of good quality. So these donations should not be done anyhow. We have to engage the authorities; the Ministry of Health and other structures in government. We just learnt about this [donations by Freemasons] after they had done it,” said Rev Sumaili.