We are suffering together with our children and we have nothing. Even if our children go to school, they can’t find employment. We need intelligent leaders not a drunkard President, said a Seventh Day Adventist woman clad in her “Dorcas” church uniform when she was interviewed on Prime Television.

These remarks, however, have attracted a sharp reaction from members of the Patriotic Front leadership who feel the Dorcas woman was insulting President Edgar Lungu. Minister of Lands Jean Kapata went a step further to threaten that government would shut down the television station that aired the video clip.

The minister’s reaction inspired PF youths to retaliate against the entire Seventh Day Adventist Church. Last weekend, a renowned PF cadre Maxwell Chongu patronised several clubs and taverns clad in a Dorcas uniform while drinking beer. This, he said, was a demonstration of his party’s displeasure of the remarks made by the now famous Nampundwe woman.

We are at loss to appreciate this fight between the ruling party and the Seventh Day Adventist Church. To begin with, we can’t see any insult to the President in the statement made by this woman. We noticed that she did not mention any name when she said “sitifuna president chakolwa” (we don’t want a drunkard President), but even if it was established that she was referring to His Excellency President Edgar Lungu because he is the one in charge of the country, we don’t think that her remarks were an insult in any way.

Calling someone a drunkard cannot be an insult. It may be an impolite description of an individual, but never an insult. According to the contemporary English Dictionary, a drunkard is a person who is habitually drunk. Therefore, the Dorcas woman made an expression which can only be challenged by facts.

The question of whether President Lungu drinks beer habitually can easily be answered by what he has frankly told the nation himself. Our President has never hidden the fact that he often takes alcohol, and that he misses consuming this alcohol in the company of his common friends from the compounds where he proudly lived before becoming Head of State. However, he insists that the alcohol uptake does not affect his work.

The perception that the President is a drunkard has not come from the Dorcas woman. This woman has never had a drink with the Head of State before, but people who have lived and worked with Mr Lungu have told us so. Those who went to university with him and those who groomed him in politics testified, even before the man became President that he was a drunkard. This is the perception that Zambians who read news have about their Head of State.

It is therefore logical for a citizen like the miserable Dorcas mother to assume that the economy has collapsed because her country is being led by a drunkard. This woman has the right to pass a vote of no confidence in the country’s leadership if she finds it failing. The Constitution of the Republic of Zambia also grants her the freedom to associate with any political party, including the opposition UPND, if she thinks it has a better leader. And we know that’s what the PF has a problem with.

This Dorcas woman has caused a storm not for saying she doesn’t want a drunkard president, that’s not new. Many people, including those who serve in the PF government today, have referred to the Head of State a drunkard. But this woman has angered the PF because she was in her church uniform and expressed her support for the opposition UPND wile condemning government.

What the Patriotic Front doesn’t know is that many members of the church in Zambia have passed a vote of no confidence in this government’s leadership. Just like this Dorcas woman, the faithful children of God are tired of being abused and are looking for alternative leadership. The only difference is that they don’t have that kind of courage to say the truth and shame the devil.

We are surprised that the PF does not see why their relationship with the church is worsening every day. When President Lungu first got into office, his number one pillar was the church. The same women who are calling him a drunkard today used to be the greatest fans of the humble leader. But things are not the same.

One would expect that the President and his Cabinet would start reconciling with the church and ironing out the differences that have caused the two institutions to drift apart. Instead, they are punishing harmless church leaders like Nevers Mumba and aggravating the injury on the Seventh Day Adventists. How can it be a solution for the Lands Minister to mobilise a campaign against the Dorcas women?

Even assuming that the Dorcas mother did not have the right to express herself is that manner, even assuming that she indeed insulted President Lungu; is this the best way to react to the Seventh Day Adventist Church because of one member’s conduct?

We find it even more awkward that this government established a Ministry of Religious Affairs and National Guidance, which they gave to a Reverend called Godfridah Sumaili to superintend over. So we don’t understand why the Patriotic Front women’s movement led by Jean the Baptist Kapata is threatening the Church. Why is the Lands minister threatening to close down Prime Television when there is a minister in charge of broadcasting to guide the TV station?

We don’t encourage the kind of language used by the Dorcas mother, but we respect her freedom of speech. We believe that there is no law she has broken. Those in the Patriotic Front must not waste time fighting this poor woman, instead, they must focus on making life better for her. Let them prove her wrong by creating jobs for her children and putting food on the table. Once her struggles are resolved and her stomach is full, she will stop calling President Lungu a drunkard.