FORMER Archbishop of Lusaka Telesphore Mpundu says President Edgar Lungu’s leadership is worse than the former British colonial masters because he exhibits no tolerance for opposing voices as required in Zambia’s Republican Constitution.

In an interview, Bishop Mpundu complained that President Lungu’s government had rapidly degenerated into a brutal dictatorship, which was worse than the former British autocracy which existed before Zambia’s independence.

He wondered why citizens had to be threatened with arrest whenever they rebuked President Lungu, citing arbitrary arrests of prominent civil rights activists who condemned the PF’s rampant abuse of the Public Order Act.

“Fifty six years down the line, we still have that Public Order Act, this is very retrogressive, we are not supposed to be having things like that. This is a free Zambia, our leaders today, the Chagwa Lungu’s of this world, they are worse than the British, it’s wrong! We thought now we have a free Zambia where people can speak, young people want to speak to their President, arrest them; someone is singing, he is an artist, complaining, they should listen. Presidents and any leader should listen to everybody, not catch him. Several times Pilato is in prison and we have tried several times to rescue him, nothing. This is a dictatorial government, we deserve better,” Archbishop Mpundu said.

He further lamented that government was using divide and rule tactics against the Church and using it to their advantage ahead of next year’s polls.

“The government wants to divide, this is a policy of divide and rule, divide et impera. Even within one particular church, they divide leaders and those who are being led, they are fighting, that poses the advantage on the government, they are very happy about it. Divide and rule. [president] Chiluba brought brown envelopes, now they are brown and white and whatever from the highest [office]. When you are given food by someone, don’t spit because as soon you open your mouth, they will say, ‘hey you, who gave you the food, who are you?’ So, government did it, they have divided leaders among themselves. Remember, when the Ministry of Religious Affairs came, who were fighting to become either permanent secretary or minister, among the churches? And we said, ‘this is a useless Ministry!’ There is nothing new we are going to do there. We have been working with the government for many years, we didn’t need this Ministry. If you want to create jobs for your people, do so, but not ministries,” said Archbishop Mpundu.