UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka says it is hypocritical for President Edgar Lungu to call on the Church to pray for peace when he has failed to lead the way in ending political violence in the country.

In an interview, Katuka wondered whether President Lungu had no knowledge that as Head of State, he had the power to end political violence.

“We all know how hypocritical Lungu is, he has never been in charge of anything. He is just holding that office without knowing what powers he has. He is Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces, he can bring that violence to a stop within a second, but he doesn’t know the powers he has. We have always said (president Levy) Mwanawasa did it within a second, violence was gone, but he has failed. I think Mr Lungu must know that he is in charge of a country, he is in charge of the police, he is in charge of the army, he is in charge of all wings of the government, including the security wings,” Katuka said.

“So, that is the problem. That is why he can even now go to the Church to ask the Church to pray for peace. What facilities have they got to do that apart from divine power from heaven? How does that peace come together? So, he is appealing for the Church to pray because that is the only thing they can do, but he has the weapons, he has the powers, which he can’t use! So, it is hypocritical for me to appeal to the Church, he should be the first to say, ‘he doesn’t want to see violence in the country,’ he should take action. He has failed to do what he is able to do using the powers he has. Because of his failures to do it, he is now appealing to the Church no, ‘please help us,’ what has he done? Even the Bible tells us God only helps those who help themselves. They have failed to help themselves. That is why they are now waffling and expecting God to come in.”

He said Zambia was slowly degenerating into a finished country because PF cadres had continued to break laws with impunity.

“The indiscipline I am talking about is that his people have no respect for him! How do expect your cadres to go and attack a police station? Honestly, is this a country anymore? Zambia is a finished country in short because nobody respects the rule of law because it is broken down; no one has respect for one another; nobody has respect for life. You can see the moral decay of this society. We have lost value as human beings,” lamented Katuka.

“And again, no one listens to him, his cadres have no respect for him; they won’t listen to him. I have heard him say so many times that, ‘no, whoever does this, I will deal with him!’ But nobody respects him. They don’t even listen to him. He is always contradicting himself because at one occasion, he will say the opposite of what he will say at the other occasion so people don’t take him seriously. It starts with what we believe in as a people. I have always asked what is the symbol of PF? The symbol itself is violence. What is the slogan of PF? The slogan is pamaka (power), pamaka is violence. So, I don’t know why you even doubt who is violent. Their slogan is violence, the symbol is violence and the people speak violence. So, we shouldn’t even doubt where this violence is coming from.”

On Sunday, President Lungu called on the Church in Zambia to “passionately” pray for the country’s peace during a service at the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) St. Andrews Congregation in Lusaka.