PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema says there is too much bureaucracy in government which is why projects are delayed.

And President Hichilema says government should not look to the church as their enemies but as partners in serving the people of Zambia.

Speaking during the Episcopal ordination of the Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Monze Reverend Fr Raphael Mweempwa, Saturday, President Hichilema said there was need for government to learn from the church on how to cut bureaucracy.

“It is our duty in government to assist the church to complete this building, their building is our building. It is the centre of worship for the very people that we serve. The contractors [for the church] told me that they were able to deliver this stage within time, I think we [need to] learn from there, those who are in central government. Too much bureaucracy, we delay projects because of bureaucracy, let us learn from the Bishop and the team, how they were able to cut bureaucracy here. You see church, we are learning from you,” he said.

“Water, Monze Hospital, industrial bowel at Monze Hospital, the church has done its part, I think such things it is us in local government now that we have allocated resources to local areas such as CDF, we must prioritise water for this hospital. There is money Bishop, there is money for that, we have already sent the money. I am not here to offer instructions, I am here to remind the councilor of this ward, to remind the chairman of the council and many others who sit on the CDF committee and the honourable member of parliament who happens to be a senior member in this government that shall we prioritise some if not all of the items that are on the list.”

He congratulated Bishop Mweempwa on his ordination.

“We are so delighted today to be invited to this worship service where we have all come to witness the consecration of Bishop Fr Raphael Mweempwa, Congratulations your Lordship. We are called to duty at different ages, many of us remember that our first republican president Dr Kenneth David Kaunda, was only 39 years old when he became president of our great country. Serving the community where you were raised can be a challenge because some will remember you as a young child and the habits of a young person at that time may be remembered when you are such a grown-up person. You are now the fifth Bishop of this beautiful Diocese. My message is that this church has done tremendous work in this country. This particular Diocese and those that came before you Bishop Mweempwa worked very hard to keep this reputation. We believe with God’s help you will walk through the steps that those who came before you followed,” President Hichilema said.

He said government should never view the church as enemies.

“I want to indicate something, leadership comes in many ways, in many forms. Platforms are different but it calls for one thing, service to the people, service to God’s people, not someone else’s people. God created this diversity in these people but they are all his people. When we seek public office for us in the political arena, we are conscious that it is a call to serve the people, God’s people. The church is also serving God’s people. We may come from different angles, we may occupy different offices but we are serving the one body of Christ. In that case, we should never view each other as competitors, we are partners,” President Hichilema said.

“I want to call on my colleagues in Cabinet, my colleagues in the local government that never should we view the church, this our catholic church or other churches as our enemies. Aren’t we a Christian nation? How can a Christian habour enmity against another? Strange, not possible. So I ask the government in its entirety to work with this church. I ask the new dawn government and hopefully, those who follow after us not to be in conflict with the church but to work with the church.”

He called on the church to unite the country.

“I ask for one thing repeated, unity, first in the church, and also with the body of Christ. Unity is essential. This government has taken a decision that we will work on reuniting our country, because God gave us this diversity. We intend to ensure that we have unity in diversity. Equity, fairness are cardinal to achieving unity, please serve the people of Monze, the Catholic and outside the Catholic Church, even those that keep cattle like us. Adaptation to local culture I think this church has done well, other churches can learn from the Catholic Church. We only have one country we call Zambia, let us all join hands to keep Zambia one, One Zambia, One Nation, one nation, one people,” said President Hichilema.