INDEPENDENT Churches of Zambia (ICOZ) president Bishop David Masupa has called on President-Elect Hakainde Hichilema to maintain the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs, claiming it has brought a lot of order in Zambia.

In an interview, Bishop Masupa said since its establishment in 2016, the Ministry had come up with rules on how churches should regulate themselves.

“First of all, we need to ask ourselves what was the main objective unto which the outgoing President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, what was the underlying objective for the formation of this ministry? I want to emphasize, if the people remember very well he said ‘I want an interface between the church and the government. The only interface I can use is through the Ministry’. Hence the creation of that Ministry so that government can be able to appreciate the spiritual counsel and guidance and prophetic counsel that they would get as well as understand some of the social problems that are going on in the society through the church,” Bishop Masupa said.

“That Ministry became like a bridge for interfacing between the church and the government. Also, there was an issue of other mushrooming churches which capitalized on freedom of worship, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion. The government needed to appreciate what is happening, ‘how do we help them, what kind of problems, challenges are they facing’? People were just waking up to say ’we want a church; we are opening this’ there was no order. The Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs has brought a lot of order. It has come up with decorum of regulations of how churches should regulate themselves and behave like churches. Right now in the country, there is a bit of order.”

Bishop Masupa said the Ministry had also helped in regulating foreign prophets who were coming into the country.

“You may also realise that we had an issue of foreign ministers coming in our country, which even today has a bearing that they are passing certain prophecies which are bringing adverse or negative effects to the people of Zambia as well as on government. So, there was one way of receiving these people and treating them. We don’t want an influx of foreign pastors coming into the country to be now captured [and then] we have a state capture of certain prophets and so forth,” he said.

“Even now as I am speaking, if we are not careful, we will hear that certain prophets will start claiming to say that they did something in order for this government to win, which we don’t want. It is the Ministry that was regulating that. So for me really, taking that Ministry away will be porous. Taking that Ministry away there will be religious disorder in the country. We know that the word of God cannot be regulated by man but there has to be some degree of order. This Ministry is important and those are the relevancies of this Ministry.”

Meanwhile, Bishop Masupa said removing the Ministry could lead to loss of morality and ethics in the country.

“I know there is a cost that goes with it and that is where government is coming from. They will be claiming to say ‘but there is this financial cost’, what about morality? If morality and ethics are lost in this country, it will even be more costly because we will have a lot of people that will be stealing from these ministries, not until they are cashiered by these moral values. The second objective I want to talk about is that they propagate article 8 which talks about national values and principles. What are these national values? They talk about transparency, they talk about integrity, they also talk about morality and ethics,” said Bishop Masupa.

“So, in other words, they are actualising Zambia as a Christian nation. So, this Ministry was there to make sure that Zambia as a Christian nation becomes a reality. So, without this Ministry we are going to lose all that. We don’t want satanism to come in our country, we don’t want gayism, we don’t want lesbianism, we don’t want homosexuality because those are western cultural values. If they are going to come into this country, then this country is going to face a phase of moral degradation. That is what I can tell you as a senior clergy in the country.”