Churches slam Lungu over creation of religion ministry
LUSAKA — Zambian churches have slammed President Edgar Lungu for creating a religion ministry, saying that this would lead to government meddling in church issues, said a report on Wednesday.
According to the Tablet, the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) and the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) were not pleased over the newly created ministry.
Both bodies warned that the move could turn the country into a theocracy and extend state control over religion.
In a joint statement the church organisations further described the move as “unwise and unnecessary”.
“In view of the various financial and economic challenges our country is currently facing, we neither see the creation of the said ministry as a top priority nor a prudent decision. After all, we believe that Zambians want their country to be a democracy rather than a theocracy”, the church organisations reportedly said in a statement.
Lungu reportedly appointed Pentecostal pastor Reverend Godfridah Sumaili, as head of the new ministry.
Meanwhile, the opposition party, the United Party for National Development (UPND) complained over the slow appointment of cabinet ministers.
According to the Zambia Reports, a UPND official, McDonald Chipenzi warned that the country may not have a full functioning cabinet because of what he described as “piecemeal appointment of ministers”.
“At this snail’s pace he is appointing Ministers, we are likely to reach festive season without a full Cabinet being appointed. It will be worse when it will come to appointing and replacing Diplomats, PSs and DCs. I foresee another five years of appointments without stability in the running of government,” Chipenzi was quoted as saying.
Lungu was sworn in early this month, with opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema saying the ceremony was “Illegal and unconstitutional”.
Lungu, who first took power last year, won the August 11 election by just 100 000 votes. — AFP