RELIGIOUS Affairs Minister Reverend Godfridah Sumaili the huge donations being made by members of the ruling party are biblical and it is not up to the recipients to question the source of their finances.

And Rev Sumaili says Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu should learn to be balanced by also pointing out the good things which government does.

On Monday, Archbishop Mpundu said church leaders had banded with criminals and government in looting and plundering Zambia’s resources through ongoing donations derived from unexplained wealth.

But in an interview, Rev Sumaili said giving was biblical, further questioning whether Archbishop Mpundu believed in God.

“Does he believe in the word of God? I don’t want to speak against him. The only thing I can say is giving offering and paying tithe is biblical. It is from the word of God. Even Jesus Christ came as a sacrifice, God gave his only son, he died on the cross for you and me. So when we give to God, we give because we love God, you are not giving to man. We are giving to God because we love God and we say thank you God. But that resource, it is supposed to sustain the work of the clergy if the Church needs to exist so that it gives service to the people. So we need to put into it so that the church can do the work that has been given to it by God,” Rev Sumaili said.

“People are free to give. They are giving because they are moved to give, so should they now say ‘where did you get the money from?’ no. It is up to the person who has given that they give from their substance, whatever they have earned, they want to say thank you God. I am not talking about those other giving, I am talking about the offering that we give to church. Even a politician is a human being, he should also give an offering, he should also give a tithe of their earnings. If you have a business, you are making profit, give 10 percent of that, give to God, it is biblical”

And commenting on Archbishop Mpundu’s concern that priests and bishops were silent in the face of extremely bad governance, Rev Sumaili said government had done so much good.

“I do not think that he can generalise. The government is doing so much good. There may be little mistakes here and there and the church has been speaking out. There is no one who can say I have never made a mistake, there can be certain mistakes that are there but that is why we have all these stakeholders, we have the NGOs, we have the church, the civil society who can speak and talk about these issues so that we improve as a nation. The government has done a lot of good and he needs to be balanced. Bishop should be balanced, he should also be talking about what this government has done. Are we not happy with the roads? Are we not happy with the schools? Are we not happy with the hospitals? The social cash transfer to help the poor? I think we should balance,” said Rev Sumaili.

“And I am sure that you have noticed that the President has been listening. What I am asking for is that can bishop be balanced. He should be balanced, he is a man of God so he needs to speak from the mind of God. He should say what good the government is doing, where are they falling short. That is the way. We are in a democracy, constructive criticism is very helpful and healthy.”

In his remarks, Archbishop Mpundu said some clergymen had banded with criminals to loot.

“The atrocities that this administration has committed must be unequivocally condemned in Zambia. Lately, the Church across denominations has failed to rise up to its prophetic calling and duty because its leadership has been compromised. The one who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver was one of his closest friends, the apostle named Judas Iscariot. Bishops are successors of the apostle; they, too, at least some of them, have abandoned their prophetic duty in exchange for money. They have banded with criminals and the government in looting and plundering this country. This is a bare truth. It ought to be a national shame for the so-called Christian nation!” said Archbishop Mpundu.