THE National Day of Prayer, Fasting and Reconciliation was yesterday characterised by a low ‘prayer warrior’ turnout at the Lusaka Show Grounds.

This was the first national prayer day after its creator, Edgar Lungu, lost the presidential elections.

Whereas ‘christians’ would be forced to brave the sun in the open field once all the seats in the gallery were filled during Lungu’s tenure, yesterday was a different story.

EPP leader Chilufya Tayali, who has attended all the commemoration services since inception, wondered why even the creator of the holiday did not attend prayers at the national centre.

“The mood is not as electrifying and jubilant as it has been in the previous years. The President is not even here, not even the man that declared it, only the Veep is here,” posted Tayali on his Facebook page.

“Even Dr. Joshua Banda was not as vigorous and joyful in the absence of ECL. Honestly, this day will not work, let’s just delete it from our calendar and continue with our lives.”

Some PF-alligned Facebook pages, however, shared photos of Lungu and his wife Esther observing the day at St Theresa Catholic Church.

And in a speech read on his behalf by Vice-President Mutale Nalumango during the event, President Hakainde Hichilema urged citizens to continue praying and working hard for peace and unity.

“We have been observing the National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation since its declaration in 2015. It is a very important national commitment to our creator, God. Let us use this day for the intended purpose. Let us conduct ourselves in a manner befitting this special day, devoted to honour and glorify the almighty God, lest we are seen to be hypocritical and this becomes a mockery to God. I therefore urge all of us, as citizens, to continue praying and working hard for peace, unity and shared prosperity for our country. It is our obligation,” he said.

President Hichilema reaffirmed the declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation.

“As the seventh President of Zambia, I want to reaffirm the declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation, as you provided for in the preamble of the Constitution of Zambia. Therefore, this day is important as it gives us an opportunity as a nation to humble ourselves before God and seek his face. We need to consistently reflect on our actions, acknowledge our shortcomings and commit to deliberate efforts to transform our lives,” he said.

“Allow me to take a moment to reflect on the theme for this year’s National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation which is ‘Zambia seeks sustained unity for shared prosperity’. The theme reaffirms our desire, as a nation, to build a united, prosperous and equitable Zambia. This theme summons us to champion national unity and also reminds us to work hard in order to realise a prosperous Zambia. Indeed, we must seek mutual understanding and love one another. We must work for peace and unity; we must strive to attain a prosperous Zambia.”

President Hichilema said Zambia should remain a prayerful nation at all times.

“Observing the National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation should however, not be an end in itself. We must remain a united, God fearing and prayerful nation at all times and in all seasons. As Christians, we must go beyond praying together only on this day,” said President Hichilema.

Meanwhile, various political parties were in attendance, including the PF which was represented by its deputy secretary general Nickson Chilangwa and Mporokoso PF member of parliament and leader of the opposition in Parliament, Brian Mundubile.