COUNCIL of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) general secretary Fr Emmanuel Chikoya says the church must be allowed to be independent because a weak, ignorant church is a danger to the country.

In an interview, Thursday, Fr Chikoya said there was no need for politicians to be scared of the church.

“There is no need for them to blind the Church, there is no need for them to be scared of the Church. Let the Church be the Church. A very independent, a very vibrant, a very self sustaining Church is a blessing to this country. A weak church, ignorant Church, poor church is a danger to this country. So let the church be the Church, there is no need to begin to create structures to manage and control the Church,” Fr Chikoya said .

And Fr Chikoya said politicising certain events was the reason why the country failed to progress in peace building.

“The prayers must be left in the domain of the Church, let the politicians do their job of governing the country and there is no need to heavily use the military chaplains and others. Let the Church take the lead and don’t politicise it. The focus shifts from God and Jesus to individuals. It is good for the Church to ensure that the right things are done so that we don’t just change from one color to the other color and then it goes back to business as usual. It was heavily politicised,” he said.

“I think we don’t really need to wait for the day of prayer to reconcile, reconciliation must be an ongoing thing, people offend each other in January and or these other things. People must reflect personally and take responsibility for the wrongs they did and be able to reach out and ask for forgiveness. I don’t think we have to delay everything and wait until the day of prayer. People must be reconciling.”

He said observing one single day cannot bring about peace.

“People recognise that they injured others but there are issues also not as just a simplification, people stole and things like that, they must pay back. Look at the example of Zachariah in the Bible, when Jesus met him he said ‘whatever I extorted from the people, I will pay back’. That is when you have proper reconciliation and proper peace. So efforts towards peace building must be done everyday. We should not make it an event, I think in the past we have made these processes an event and you just gather for example on the 18th October and boom there is peace everywhere in Zambia, it doesn’t happen like that,” said Fr Chikoya.

“Peace building is a process and there will be difficult conversations, challenging conversations but engaging and talking we must. Recognize where we did well, where we didn’t do well. Those are genuine steps towards peace building but when you have a process where people are just over praising you and you could point a prayer day or whatever it is, it will never be and that is why we failed to progress in peace building because this was a platform to do image building for one political stakeholder at the expense of others.”