Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu says Catholic Priest Father Lastone Lupupa should be withdrawn from conducting pastoral work.

Last week, Father Lupupa said it was better to rig elections to prevent some politicians from going to State House.

“There are some of you who will never enter State House because you are too much of yourself. Until you break down, until you become so soft, until you begin to see that there is only one of us, until you have the vocabulary of love, until you begin to condemn violence every time you open your mouth, as long as God sees that ‘this one is dangerous’. It’s better we rig the elections than to allow some people to lead the country. You can quote me. You even say to yourselves that when you come into power you will come and arrest people, who can allow you to rule when we know that if we allow you to rule we will scamper in every direction. Instead of saying we will forgive you,” said Fr Lupupa.

The Catholic priest was however forced to apologise after being censored by his Church leadership, after citizens took turns rebuking him over the sentiments.

Last year, Fr Lupupa was also quoted telling President Edgar Lungu that he was the chosen leader for Zambia and he would not need to campaign because his appointment came from God.

“Today, we are going to perform a ritual. Today, Caesar is going to be empowered not only to command the armed forces but begin to command the economy. You are God sent, God has given you to us. Your Excellency, in case you have been doubting, you don’t need to campaign next year. I am not campaigning for you but I’m telling you the heavenly settings, the operating system under which I perceive, I am not campaigning. Even if Caesar is going to change, his Excellency is going to be there. If God is preparing another one from the opposition, don’t campaign also. You will just come smoothly because these are heavenly settings, at the proper time they come into being. No need for political violence, no need for those sponsored rallies, Caesar is coming because he is God-sent,” said Fr Lupupa.

Reacting to Fr Lupupa’s statements, Archbishop Mpundu said people would accept his apology, but recalled that it was not the first time that the priest was making controversial statements.

“If his apology is to be accepted, let the people decide. He should be drawn from any pastoral work. The last time in Matero before the elections he was repeating the PF slogan of challenging the opposition and saying ‘you want to come in government show us what you have done, if you have done nothing then that means you will not do anything. In Bemba we say sonta epo wabomba’. And then he repeated the same thing in different words saying it is better we rig the elections. That is a dangerous statement. In my opinion, it is treasonable because democracy is a game of change. Anyone tempering with the votes they are tempting or achieving this crime of twisting the people’s will and putting their own will. It is a crime,” Archbishop Mpundu said.

“People are asking that there is an apology, isn’t there some kind of punitive measure? Because next time he will do it. How do you teach someone like that, it is by form of some punishment. This man should be withdrawn from looking after people as a pastor, as a priest because he is bringing the entire Catholic Church into disrepute. He should be withdrawn from circulation, let him do something else apart from being in charge of Christians and doing things like that from the pulpit. This is the general feeling. Why do we have people like that leading us? The whole thing is reflecting on the hierarchy, reflecting on the clerical people. Why should they allow a person like this when he doesn’t seem to have a sense of judgment? It is okay to apologise, but the best thing is that he should be withdrawn from circulation at least for sometime so that he learns a lesson.”

And Archbishop Mpundu said Fr Lupupa was not remorseful in his apology.

“He is known to make statements out of this world. And when apologising it is almost like he was laughing instead of being very serious. You say ‘my words of regret are inadequate to express for having said something like that.’ This is not the first time he is saying something like that. These are statements made without any sense of judgement whatsoever. Why should they let this person continue talking from the pulpit, misguiding people and bringing about controversy which is unnecessary. When people go to church, they go there to hear the word. That is where they are told to be united, they leave those politics outside. But when a priest like that starts bringing statements like that, very provocative he is dividing the people. So he should be saying those things away from the church grounds. Can he go out there since you are a partisan politician, join that political party and leave this work of the priest alone,” said Archbishop Mpundu.