UPND national chairperson Mutale Nalumango has demanded that President Edgar Lungu released the opposition party’s deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka and others from prison before talking about prayers.

Meanwhile, UPND Chairperson for Religious Committee Kelly Mukonka says the party will not allow President Lungu to run for a third term.

Speaking during a press briefing with Lusaka clergy men, Monday, Nalumango said the national day of prayer was hypocritical.

“As UPND we have made our position clear, right from 2015, the Bible says, ‘God is never mocked’, this day of prayer which is fasting and reconciliation, who has reconciled since 2015? Have you seen reconciliation in our land? We are now five years of prayer, fasting and reconciliation, we don’t see any reconciliation. In short, I am saying we have made this clear, for us to be part of such a prayer is hypocritical, is actually making you know uku fwike ichoni insapato na suit (dressing a bird in shoes and a suit). We will not go to endorse hypocrisy,” Nalumango said.

“If it is genuine, thank God, let people continue to pray but if it is hypocritical, if it is the Judas kiss of betrayal, people today in Zambia are in prison for crimes they have never committed and you call the same people and tell them, let’s pray? Who has reconciled the country since 2015? Have you seen any reconciliation? What good is fasting and prayer if you keep on fighting and quarrelling all the time? Take Mucheleka out of prison then we can talk about praying.”

She said PF had turned Zambia into Sodom and Gomorra.

“Sadly politics under the Patriotic Front has turned this nation into Sodom and Gomorra where those who are corrupt and steal public funds are honoured, if you don’t actually you are an idiot, if you don’t steal then you are dull. Those who engage in violence are protected, those who kill are rewarded by those in offices. That is sad, is this the Christian nation that we have declared?” she asked.

“We should not treat each other as sworn political enemies, as sworn enemies just because we belong to different political parties. Political thinking can differ even in a family but this kind of administration is bringing that kind of enmity even among members of the same family, remember we are one Zambia one nation and one nation one people and we should therefore be united as a people.”

And Nalumango called on government to allow churches to gather in classrooms despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is need for the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Religious Affairs to allow churches to continue to gather. I said they are the gate keepers of our society, you may not agree with me, they also pray for the peace because if there was no prayer, we would be up in flames but because God hears, he is still holding Zambia together. Allow them to pray in the classrooms, give them regulations that they must follow, the disinfecting and so on. If people are going to the bars, surely can people who are praying mess up more than those who are going to the bars,” said Nalumango.

Meanwhile, Mukonka said UPND would not allow President Lungu to stand for a third term of office.

“Our position as a clergy, we are saying no third term to President [Edgar] Lungu, we don’t want to go against our Constitution,” said Mukonka.