ZAMBIA: Bishops call on New President to Strengthen Nation’s Unity


 LUSAKA, FEBRUARY 06, 2015(CISA) – The Zambian Catholic bishops have called upon the newly elected president to strengthen the nation’s unity.

In a statement issued on January 30 signed by Archbishop Telesphore George Mpundu, President of the Episcopal Conference of Zambia (ECZ), the bishops urged President Edgar Lungu “to work to strengthen national unity, threatened by party divisions and tribalism.”

The January 20, 2015 elections were conducted following the death of President Michael Chilufya Sata on November 28, 2014.

The bishops told President Lungu that stronger unity is needed to end the various problems which weakened the nation during the campaign, such as: the use of political violence, divisions within parties, tribalism, misuse of the media, and ‘undue intrusion’ in the election campaign of traditional leaders and members of the clergy.

They added that they were “disconcerted by and severely reprimand those of our priests who gave platform to candidates to speak to their faithful during liturgical services, particularly holy Mass, in a manner that is indirectly or directly connected with campaigning.”

“Priests who indulge in partisan politics,” they added, “are in the political arena on their own; they have neither authorization nor backing from their diocesan bishops.”

There are about three million Catholics in Zambia, about a quarter of the total population. There are ten dioceses, including two archdioceses.

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