THE Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has challenged political leaders to present viable programmes on how they are going to address the country’s debt crisis, decreasing economic opportunities and unemployment.

And the Centre has called on all political leaders to tame and disarm their party cadres ahead of the August elections.

In a statement in commemoration of African Freedom Day, Tuesday, JCTR executive director Fr Alex Muyembe said African countries needed to free themselves from donor dependence, debt crisis, illicit financial flows, among others.

He added that true freedom meant that all citizens in the country were given equal opportunities to enjoy their rights.

“Twenty Fifth (25th) May has been celebrated by most African countries as it embraces the freedom obtained from their colonial masters. Zambia is no exception. This day is a moment of joy, pride, reflection and meditation. Since true freedom is one that enables people to have full opportunities to enjoy their freedoms, the big question to ask is do all Zambian citizens being given the same platforms to express themselves regardless of their political affiliations? Do we look at each other as one people created in the image of God regardless of our tribes or provinces of origin?” Fr Muyembe wondered.

“African Freedom Day was set aside to celebrate liberation from imperial domination and foreign exploitation. On this day we take a moment to reflect on the strides that we have made as a nation since attainment of our political emancipation. We also reflect on the strides we are making towards economic emancipation by seeking to drop the shackles of debt crisis, donor dependence, reliance on foreign companies to run our mines, illicit financial flows, discriminative world trade rules and other unfair global policies and practices that continue to militate against progress of developing nations like Zambia.”

Fr Muyembe called on political leaders to tame and disarm their political leaders ahead of the August elections.

“On African Freedom Day we take an introspection as to examine why Zambian citizens have continued to experience challenges with regards to enjoyment of quality health care, quality education, nutritious food, decent housing, and economic opportunities. Unlike the imperial times when everything was blamed on the colonial masters, today we seek solutions to our problems from ourselves and from our leadership. This is a moment to challenge ourselves and to challenge our leaders to do better and in improving the welfare of all the Zambian citizens, especially the welfare of the poor and the vulnerable people of our society,” said Fr Muyembe.

“It is imperative that we commemorate Africa Freedom Day, we challenge our political leaders to present viable programmes on how they are going to address our country’s debt crisis, fiscal deficit, decreasing economic opportunities, unemployment, and increasing inequality. Further, as the country prepares for the 2021 general election, we ask all the political leaders in this country to embrace politics of mutual respect, tolerance and peaceful co-existence. We challenge all political leaders to immediately disarm, demobilize and tame all political party cadres.”