FORMER Archbishop of Lusaka Telesphore Mpundu says reconciliation does not entail forgetting about the past atrocities which were committed by the previous government, because people suffered from their actions.

Speaking on Diamond TV Breakfast show, Monday, Archbishop Mpundu said people should not forget about the ills of the previous government.

When asked whether reconciliation was possible when some opposition leaders were complaining of being targeted, Archbishop Mpundu said if one had committed a crime, they needed to answer for it.

“These are cry babies. When you make a mistake and it goes with a question of crime, so if you are suspected of having committed a crime, you have to be investigated so that you can be charged and then prosecuted and found guilty, if you are found guilty, then you pay the price. Reconciliation is not about just ‘let us forget the past’, the past must be corrected, if the past committed offenses that are criminal, they should be punished. So there should be no question that we are being targeted, why are they afraid? If your conscience is free, why should you be afraid to be investigated. So this talk of reconciliation, let us forget about all the ills of what the previous government did, no! We have to go back, people must pay for criminality. Even those who are in government, they are being targeted if they do anything that is criminal,” he said.

“When we say we want to be a nation of laws, we are not excluding anyone, even those who are in government, including the highest authority who are in government. People were hurt by your previous actions, you have to pay for that. As human beings, we say that we forgive your sins, but you will pay for them nonetheless. That is what justice is all about. For those who lived criminally, they helped themselves to public resources in a big way, people have suffered. Justice is trying to see that people, those who have suffered, they get justice. So it is not about forgetting about what happened, you are setting a precedence, another government comes in, will say the same, ‘the previous government was not targeted’. You have done wrong, let the law take its course.”

He said it was sad that some citizens regarded politics as a war zone.

“When you are talking about reconciliation, you are talking about two people who are good friends, then they quarrel, sometimes even violently. Then we are no longer on talking terms, the friendship has been broken. When we come to politics and politicians, it is sad that people regard politics as some place where you are fighting verbally and sometimes even physically. So this reconciliation in my opinion, if we understand who we are as human beings, we shouldn’t even be talking about it because politics is one group of people who are in administration, who are leading, who are the political party in power,” Archbishop Mpundu said.

“But again, there is another group which is very important, these are the people who are waiting to do the same next time, they are a government in waiting so to speak. This is not a war, this is a game, this is the biggest game in the world. So everybody is welcome and when that happens, people must understand that we need each other. It is not something like fighting and after elections, then those who have been defeated, they are nursing a grudge. It is a shame that we regard political parties as armies fighting, they are people complementing one another. But Zambians [say] ‘no, they are enemies’, you are not in my political party so you are my enemy.”