NATIONAL Guidance and Religious Affairs Minister Reverend Godfridah Sumaili says running her Ministry has been a challenge.

And Rev Sumaili says there is need to uphold morals and uprightness in governance.

Speaking when she featured on Smart Eagles’ Round Table Talk, Tuesday, Rev Sumaili said it was hard to run her Ministry many people did not understand its role.

“I think the grace in my life is to start new things. This is how it has been, I remember as I said when I was at Citibank in treasury, then I went to Standard Chartered Bank to start a new department of treasury that was new. I remember in church my Pastor, Bishop [Joe] Imakando, said we needed to start a new Ministry for women of integrity. I was the first leader for women of integrity, starting it and setting up structures nationally and now this Ministry I just thanked God, it’s been challenging, it has not been easy because it is new, people don’t understand. We have had to set structures to bring it to a level of a government Ministry well run and with systems in place,” Rev Sumaili said.

“I am glad to say that we have done well, in this last audit by the Auditor General, there is no comment on the Ministry of National Guidance, no adverse comments. It has been difficult but I should also thank the President because he has given us support and we have worked well with other Ministries and we have tried to communicate to the people to get them to understand what this Ministry is all about.”

She said her ministry was an anchor to all Ministries in Cabinet by ensuring that national values were upheld.

“We do more on the national guidance part than even on the church part but it is the church activities which get media attention, when we are doing national guidance work, it is not too much. The Ministry has two major mandates; the first mandate is for us to actualise the national values and principles that are enshrined in the Constitution. So everything that is in the Constitution is critical to the nation. The people of Zambia had the wisdom to say that as a people we need something to guide us, we need something to anchor our governance, these are the values. A nation without values is lost. For Zambia to really progress and have peaceful relationships and raise our children properly, we need values,” she said.

“It is the responsibility of our ministry to ensure that these values become a reality in our nation. This is what is going to differentiate us from other Ministries. These values are also important in the legislation of the laws. I sit on the legislative committee of Cabinet where we make bills which go to Parliament to make laws. So I must make sure that every law that we enact as a nation is anchored on our values and principles. So therefore in terms of what we have been doing? We have been doing so much of sensitization. I look at the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs as an anchor Ministry, anchoring all these government Ministries because all these values have to be mainstreamed.”

Rev Sumaili said there was need to promote morality in Zambia’s governance system arguing that it was unacceptable for a politician to stand in public and insult.

“In our governance system, we need morality, we need uprightness that is why I get so shocked when a political leader stands in public and starts insulting, totally unacceptable. It should start from home, the way we are raising our children. One of the programmes that we are doing is working with the family to ensure that these values are taught even from our households. There is a lot that needs to be done concerning the raising of our children,” Rev Sumaili said.

“It is unfortunate that social media has been abused, it is supposed to be an instrument of progress. Sharing information quickly that should help us in our national development and entertainment but unfortunately it has been abused. I was shocked to see even a personality from the media there naked with just a bikini and all that. We have to understand who we are. We are a people with values, our cultural values are so rich and we are coming from there.”

Meanwhile, Rev Sumaili said Zambians were robbed of an important legislation when Constitution Amendment Bill number 10 of 2019 was shot down.

“It is very sad and again I would say that the people of Zambia have yet again been robbed of great benefits. I remember that in 2016 we wanted to put part two of the Constitution which talks about the rights of people; the human rights, the rights of women. We wanted to do that but the opposition party the UPND were against that, very strange and the people of Zambia don’t question how can you be against the rights of people? It is very very sad. Again this time around Bill 10, it is very unfortunate we have lost something but it is our prayer that we shall have an opportunity to bring back the things we had put in place in Bill 10,” said Reve Sumaili.

“The women have lost because we wanted women to be represented in Parliament. We wanted the youths to be represented in Parliament. We wanted the physically challenged people to be represented so that they can also have a voice. We wanted to deal with the electoral systems. So there are so many things that we have lost out in this thing. The declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation enshrined in the main body of the Constitution that was so paramount and I believe that those who were opposing Bill 10 they didn’t want that to be in the main body of the Constitution. There is a saying if you reject Jesus, he will also reject you. So it is a loss but I think at the right time it will be put in place.”