PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema says Zambia will remain a Christian nation but people should live like Christians rather than just pronouncing it by word of mouth.

And President Hichilema has insisted that his administration will work towards removing the ethnic smell which was exuded and pushed out during the campaign period.

Speaking at a church service held at State House, Saturday, President Hichilema said citizens should relate with each other like true Christians.

“We are a Christian nation, we shall remain so. But we should actually live like Christians and not pronounce it by word of mouth only but live it, walk it, dream it and relate with each other like true Christians then we can make a claim on Christianity that we cherish it, we value it. Maybe it is essential that I indicate that it is a rare opportunity that we can be given this responsibility to run this country, to serve the people of Zambia without exception and that we shall do. We will remind ourselves all the time why we are here, it is to serve the people of Zambia, God’s people,” President Hichilema said.

He said State House would be open to all churches in the country.

“This State House, this is the people’s house, will hold services when the leaders of various churches agree to do so and it will be open to all churches in this country. Because the body of Christ is one. I would like that message not to be misunderstood, to be taken clear in its right context because one of the hurdles we had to cross was the perception that churches must be divided, churches must fight each other, not at all. And discriminatory messages were delivered, political messages that he cannot lead this country because his church is XYZ, we are one. Jesus never came here to divide us, he came here to unite us,” he said.

The Head of State recalled that his journey to the Presidency was full of injustices.

“The core message I wish to pick out from the sermon is that we are just God’s tools. And our roles change from time to time, but at all times, we are just God’s tools. Sometimes we do not realise that, we hurt, we anger, we are furious when we go through a certain phase as we are used as God’s tools. He reminds us that God chooses the path we walk. He knew it before we were born but we resist hence our anger. The experience, the hurdles we have gone through were simply God’s design. We know it was wrong, the injustices were wrong but that was God’s design so we can understand certain things better,” he said.

President Hichilema reiterated that the Treasury was empty but that his government would make a fundamental difference.

Meanwhile, President Hichilema said the people of Luanshya voted for the UPND Alliance despite the “ethnic smell” that was being driven during the campaigns.

“Every day we shall remind ourselves why did Zambians vote for us, it is to make their lives better. It will be difficult. My few days looking through the core anchors of running the country’s economy, we found that the Treasury is empty, completely empty, it is bleeding. As you know, growth plummeted under MMD leadership from 6, 7 percent to zero and to minus, there is nothing in there. But with God’s hand, with your support, we believe we will make a fundamental difference in months, in years to come as a team not for ourselves, but for all our people especially the children, the youths that put us into office against all odds including the ethnic smell that was exuded and pushed out there in the campaign,” President Hichilema said.

“The people of Luanshya voted for this UPND Alliance where this ethnic smell was being driven mostly. Didn’t they send a message that they do not care about those [ethnic differences]? They care about the better lives of themselves, their children and those yet to be born. That is a heavy load to carry.”

Meanwhile, President Hichilema called on those yet to be appointed in his Cabinet not to take anything that belonged to people.

“Those who wish to be in the UPND Cabinet, this is not a pleasure stint, this is to work for the people and never to take anything that belongs to the people that will help that child to go to school like I did from the village. You cannot take that opportunity away from that child by taking what belongs to people and put it into your pocket,” said President Hichilema.