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Alba Iulia
Sunday, January 19, 2020

Catholic Bishops urge Government to immediately withdraw the newly introduced local languages programs in schools

Headlines Catholic Bishops urge Government to immediately withdraw the newly introduced local...

The Zambia Episcopal Conference has urged government to immediately withdraw the policy of the use of local languages as medium of instruction in lower primary schools and engage in real consultations.

Speaking to the media today at a press conference, where they raised a number of other issues, ZEC said that forcing children to learn in local languages that are not their native languages is not only unjust but also a violation of human rights.

ZEC also expressed disappointment at the lack of progress made on the issues that were raided last year.

Below is the full press conference transcript.



Dear members of the Press and invited guests, New Year greetings from us, the Zambia Episcopal Conference.

On the occasion of our first plenary session in 2014, we have invited you here to share with you and through you with the nation our perspective of various issues that are affecting our country.

1. Introduction

We thank the Almighty God for preserving our country in relative peace and unity throughout 2013.
We note with joy and gratitude to God that this year, our country is celebrating its golden jubilee of independence. This is a great achievement for our country. In this vein, we give thanks to God for his mercy on our country; we honour our founding fathers and mothers who sacrificed for our freedom and salute every individual Zambian for their personal contribution to the harmony we enjoy in our country, today. Scripture says; “Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called Children of God.” Matthew 5: 9

2. Issues for reflection.

As we start the New Year, it is incumbent upon us to share with the nation our reflections on the year 2013 as well as our expectations for 2014.
The state of our country is the responsibility of all of us and therefore each one of us has a duty to contribute to the wellbeing of people and harmony in our country. In a great measure, Zambians have lived up to this task and we urge them to continue.

3. The Duty of Government

We thank God that since Zambia attained independence about 50 years ago in 1964, the country has had relatively stable successive governments elected by the people of Zambia in various political systems. Being elected by the people, this bestows great responsibility on the part of government. At all times, government must endeavour to work to promote the common wellbeing of all the people. We all know that the way government manages public affairs and exercises its stewardship of power invariably affects everyone in the country.

Therefore citizens expect their government, amongst other things, to be humble listeners to the people who are the real masters of governors; to promote integral development and to guarantee peace and political stability; to ensure that human rights are respected and that there are good health facilities and education system, and that majority people have access to such facilities, but above all that all citizens are treated with dignity and respect.

4. Taking Stock in the New Year

As we start the New Year, we need to indeed take stock of our country so that we improve on what we are doing well and avoid the pitfalls that we have experienced in the past. We acknowledge the effort government is making to improve the welfare of the Zambian people and their dignity. We recognise, in particular, improvements to the economy and road infrastructure development in some parts of the country.

5. Challenges

Notwithstanding the gains mentioned above, we note with deep concern that the strides Zambia could have made continue to be negated and eroded by governance arrogance of the know it all type. There is demonstration of lack of humility among some of our leaders and this has led to lack of stakeholder consultation when making decisions on key policy matters. Why is it that those who try to question certain practices are treated with scorn and humiliation? These are manoeuvres meant to intimidate people from participating in their own affairs and providing checks and balances in the governance of this country.

To date there are many unresolved issues and negative developments that are taking our country many years backwards. In our similar statement at the beginning of 2013, some of these governance concerns were raised, for instance:

      • The hostile political environment in our country,
      • The high incidence of by-elections,
      • Lack of political integrity among our politicians and leaders,
      • The selective application of the Public Order Act by the Zambia Police Service,
      • The deteriorating human rights situation in our country,
      • Intimidation and police repressions with regard to the Barotse issue in Western Province,
      • The stalled constitution making process.

It’s is sad that these concerns have continued to be unresolved even as we enter 2014. Today again we reiterate our concern on the same issues and many more and state where we as Zambia Episcopal Conference stand on those issues.

5.1 The need for co-existence, tolerance and respect in politics

The dream of the return to multi-partism in 1991should be enhanced by an acknowledgement that Zambia now has many political parties. It is normal, therefore, for the political atmosphere to be characterised by divergent views and political ideologies. In this respect, freedom of expression and association should not only be tolerated but should be allowed to flourish. We once again deplore the abuse and biased application of the Public Order Act by the Police Service.

The political environment in Zambia, today, is characterised by manipulation, patronage and intimidation of perceived government opponents. We urge the government to stop using state security institutions to intimidate its own nationals. The police service in particular must be professional and impartial in carrying out their duties of maintaining law and order. Too many of the nation’s resources and time are wasted on politicking at the expense of real development. This culture must change for the better.

5.2 Unnecessary by-elections

We further lament the vast sums of money that have gone and continue to go into holding of by-elections. These funds could have given Zambians many schools and hospitals. We appeal to the whole country to seriously reflect on how best unnecessary by-elections can be avoided. We are aware that this is worsened by the stalled constitution making process that could have provided legal limitations to by-elections. That is why we demand putting back on track the constitution making process which will give Zambians a chance to resolve problems inherent in our governance processes like elections.

5.3 The failure to pursue a predictable constitution making process after a spirited start in November 2011

It is imperative that the Government should decidedly set a legacy for itself by bringing this matter to a logical conclusion that is acceptable to all stakeholders.
We believe that the draft of the Technical Committee is a summation of the wishes and aspirations of the Zambian people. What needs to be done now is for the Government to take the necessary steps that will move this process forward as demanded by the people of Zambia.

We cannot go the way of the Inquiries Act, whereby the President and his cabinet sit to cherry-pick what they think should be in the constitution. We have been down this route before where respective ruling parties have desired that the constitution be made in their party’s image and likeness. This has always not worked and it will not work even now.

The people of Zambia are demanding nothing less than a constitution given to themselves by themselves. The final draft Constitution prepared by the Justice Silungwe technical committee should without further delay be released to the public and other stakeholders, consistent with the roadmap announced by the Constitution Technical Committee at the commencement of its mandate. The people have spoken many times over the years and even now; they want the constitution adopted through a referendum, Vox Populi, Vox dei,-the voice of the people is the voice of God. We reject the excuse of expenses given the fact that the country has lost huge amounts of money in the botched processes of the past. Now we have a chance to resolve this long standing constitution issue in a more sustainable way. This chance should not be allowed to yet again pass.

5.4 Food Security Situation

The food security situation of the country is at threat and it has been escalated by the late delivery of farming inputs particularly fertiliser for the 2013/2014 farming season. There has been a nationwide cry on the late delivery of farming inputs. This delay is likely to negatively affect this year’s maize harvest. Unfortunately, this comes at a time of increased mealie meal prices, which have partly been caused by the removal of subsidies on maize and fuel which has in turn resulted in the high cost of living. Many families are seriously struggling to make ends meet. We call on Government to mitigate the suffering of its people. Further, we hope that this year, 2014, the government will avoid delays in distributing farming inputs. The Government should seriously explore remedial measures to mitigate the impact of high mealie meal prices on the poor.

5.5 The failure to engage constructively with traditional leaders in order to resolve disagreements

There are a number of outstanding issues involving traditional leaders that are almost threatening their status in the Zambian society. At the root of this is the behaviour of some politicians trying to interfere with traditional institutions. Traditional affairs and conflicts related to succession should be resolved by set customs, procedures and systems within the traditional structures with recourse to the courts of law when need be. Government should only come in when such systems violate state laws and human rights.

5.6 The role of the media in Zambia

The value of having a thriving professional media cannot be over emphasised. The media play a big role as the fourth estate by educating and informing the public. We deplore the practice of harassing media personnel by some members of the public when these noble men and women are on duty. Government must put in measures to protect media personnel.

As ZEC, we are also concerned about the way government is dragging its feet in enacting the Freedom of Information Bill. This matter has been outstanding for a long time through successive regimes clearly as a result of lack of political will. We want to see this law enacted in this jubilee year.

On the other hand, the media should objectively, accurately and truthfully bring out issues as they are. Unfortunately, we are seeing a media environment in Zambia that is highly polarised and compartmentalised along political preferences. This has deeply undermined the integrity of our media. We call upon both the public and private media to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and ethics.

5.7 Standoff with striking/fired nurses

So much commentary and blame apportioning has been made by stakeholders on the standoff between government and the nurses. For us the only losers are the poor people who have died and continue to die due to lack of attention by our health institutions. People were dying when nurses went on strike and they continue to die now when government has punished the nurses by firing them. This is surely a no win situation for the patients who are suffering in our hospitals, Therefore government must play a leading role in adopting a more reconciliatory approach in the resolution of this situation that continues to endanger the lives of citizens. We want to encourage dialogue and solutions that put the interest of patients first.

6. Governing by decrees

In our past statements in 2013, we consistently appealed to government to promote a culture of consultation as a basis of policy and decision making. Ruling by decrees is not only undemocratic but also denies our country the benefit of bright ideas that could be offered by many citizens not in positions of decision making. Some decrees have led to policies that raise great challenges to implement. In the past we have talked about decrees on creation of a multitude of districts; today it is the issue of using local languages as a mode of instruction at lower primary in our schools and then the issue of SI No. 103.

6.1 Introduction of local languages as a medium of instruction at lower primary in our school:

Already the directive to use local languages as medium of instruction in our lower primary schools is proving to be a major challenge with respect to implementation. Teachers are not enough or trained to cater for the language diversity of our country. It is also unjust and a violation of human rights to force children to learn in local languages that are not their native languages. This arrangement will definitely advantage children who are native speakers of the language of instruction above their peers who are not. We urge government to immediately withdraw this policy and engage in real consultations on it.

6.2 The Statutory Instrument No. 103 of 2013

The revocation of the tax exemption for Public Benefit Organisations and Non- State charitable actors such as the Church through the Statutory Instrument No. 103 of 2013 is seriously ill advised. The implementation of this policy decision in our view is punishing the majority poor who are the beneficiaries of the services offered by the Church and other charity institutions. If the decision on SI 103 is not reversed, it will be impossible to offer social services as the Church is doing now. Therefore as ZEC, it is regrettable that we may be forced to disengage from offering social services such as health, education, vocational training, home based care and hospices due to diminished capacity occasioned by the implementation of SI 103. The implication of this is that the poor who are the main beneficiaries of the services of the Church will suffer as they will be deprived of essential social services provided by donations from overseas through local charities. We urge the Government to seriously reconsider and reinstate the previous procedure which provided appropriate criteria for clearance.

7. The Golden Jubilee of Independence

As we celebrate the golden jubilee of Zambia’s political independence, we appeal to all citizens to reshape Zambia into a country full of great prosperity. We also call for the nation to use the Golden Jubilee to foster dialogue, reconciliation and social justice. Let it be a year of renewal, self cleansing and reconstruction.
We also urge the government to quickly give clear direction and programme of events and activities that will be carried out during 2014 to mark the commemoration of the golden jubilee of Zambia’s independence. In this way, the nation will fully own the celebration and participate fully.

8. Conclusion

As Zambia Episcopal Conference, we give these views on the state of our nation with great humility and deep concern for the people of Zambia. We mean well and we pray for Zambia to be a successful democracy. It is our hope that this year will make a difference in the way we do our politics. We look forward to the resolution of many unresolved issues that we have highlighted in this press conference this morning –issues to do with our republican constitution, matters with traditional rulers, delays in the distribution of farming inputs, by-elections, lack of consultation on policy issues (e.g. education and SI 103) and acrimony in our political landscape to name but a few.

Members of the press, distinguished invited guests, Thank you for your attendance. May God bless our great country.

Issued at Kapingila ZEC House, Lusaka, Zambia on 23rd January, 2013

Most. Rev. Ignatius Chama – Archbishop of Kasama, Apostolic Administrator of Mpika and ZEC President
Rt. Rev. Alick Banda – Bishop of Ndola and ZEC Vice president
Most. Rev. Telesphore-George Mpundu – Archbishop of Lusaka
Rt. Rev. Raymond Mpezele – Bishop of Livingstone
Rt. Rev. Emilio Patriaca – Bishop of Monze
Rt. Rev. George Cosmas Zumaile Lungu – Bishop of Chipata
Rt. Rev. Charles Kasonde – Bishop of Solwezi
Rt. Rev. Evans Chinyama Chinyemba, OMI – Bishop of Mongu
Rt. Rev. Clement Mulenga, SDB – Bishop of Kabwe
Rt. Rev. Benjamin Phiri – Auxiliary Bishop of Chipata
Very Rev. Fr. Michael, M. Afr. – Apostolic Administrator of Mansa
Rt. Rev. Aaron Chisha – Bishop Emeritus of Mansa

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  1. Poor Catholics! You rode on the back of Hyenas in 2011. Look where they are taking you and the nation! Honestly, anyone who is an adult knows who Sata is. You should not be surprised by his actions!

    • Every Time I have thought about this idea of local languages for primary schools, it has made me laugh

      It is the most diabolical, unwarranted, ill advised thing that could have been ever thought of
      The beauty is, the private schools will make more money (An idea for all you who want to do business in zambia)
      Because no sane person would want their child to be subjected to a language that means nothing and contributes little in this global world

      Fire the Minister who agreed this lame things


    • Bemba should be the official language naimwe ba sata
      Implement that please. We bembas nifwe heartbeat pa zambia

    • unfortunatly the Catholics are talking to my government which does not litsen. This government can’t be advised mind you, tiyeni nayo. lets just wait for 2016 to kick their a-ss-ess out. But not HH, Haleisa Halenya. lets try Nevers, awee naena iyo. MMD are too pompus. we want change now no opposition to vote for, all of them are under 5s. twalachita shani kanshi????

    • We should conduct traceability on education history of our president. I am just wondering, he must have hated attending classes especially those done in English. I want to believe he used to flunk a lot. We can not afford to pursue such a policy in this age of globalization. Zambia is not an economy on its own, but heavily depends on other strong economies. prepare and equip our children with education enough for them to face the real challenges of the global economy. I am afraid we will end up producing several ‘wi.l.li.e n.sa.n.da.”

    • oh oh catholics, what happpend to your Holly Sata, the one you baptised in the name of holly mother mary in 2011?,,

    • MANDEVU member of parliament Jean Kapata yesterday accused The Post of destroying the ruling Patriotic Front.
      She was reacting to the background information to yesterday’s Post lead story that indicated that she was one of the people that spearheaded calls to have Wynter Kabimba removed as secretary general on allegations of failing to organise the party.
      The background information further read: “In a letter dated October 7, 2013 to party deputy secretary general Bridget Atanga which was copied to President Michael Sata, Kapata wanted the party to discipline Kabimba for disclosing that some ministers were corrupt. Other party members that had teamed up to press for Kabimba removal included chiefs and traditional affairs minister Professor Nkandu Luo, suspended Kasama Central member of…

    • I thought the catholics did not tell anyone to vote for Sata instead they advocated for change and sata took advantage over his friends and henceforth i would urge HH to take this advantage too if he were to claim victory 2016 because these people will ensure there is change in this coming election, they don’t fail on such issues. This will be read in all catholic churches in Zambia and many will be brain washed. I urge my presido HH to start aligning himself with these people by visiting communities which are most funded by them.



    • Wherever there are people a language emerges. The government should have taken advantage of the lingua franca that has emerged in Zambia in choosing which language is taught where. Why english is popular in Zambia apart from the fact it is an international language is that it does belong to any tribe in Zambia. It is a language that unifies homes when people come from different tribes. Nyanja also fits that mold. It does not belong to anyone because it is not a tribe. Bemba unfortunately is a tribe, just like Lozi, Tonga, Kaonde, Luchazi, Lunda, Chewa, Tumbuka, Lenje are tribes. There will always be problems when you pity a tribe versus a tribe. As they say, if not broken dont fix it. What was wrong with English as the official language?

  2. The Church is clear on all policy issues. Catholics and all well- meaning Zambians should support calls for change. We dont want insults from Chella but constructive and well- thought out response.

    • Well said. Better late than never so one would assume the behind the scenes chats are not working and thus this well crafted public statement.

    • If PF is wise they’ll listen and take the right action. People have spoken it can’t be louder than this.

    • ” At the root of this is the behaviour of some politician trying to interfere with traditional institutions” Why are the Catholic Bishops so scared and nervous to mentioned the names of the politicians who are interfering with traditional institutions? Be courageous, call the vipers by their names. Speak with courage as ordained minister and elders of the church. Which political party are these politicians coming from? UNIP? MMD? UPND? NAREP? or PF?

    • Why are most Zambians disappointed with Mr. Sata? People are disappointed with Mr. Sata because he has failed on both the efficiency and sufficiency principle. For a leader to be tolerated he needs to meet at least one of these if not both. Mr. Sata has failed to mobilize his team to bring about efficiency in Zambia and in the economy. Someone once said, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results each time is what madness is made of. Mr. Sata has been advised left right and centre but nothing appears to move him. The people (Mmembe, Matibini, Lombe, Wynter, Guy Scott and Malila)managing this man have failed lamentably to make him a likeable leader. Fresh elections need to be called as this is the only way the country can be salvaged. Right now we are in doom land.

  3. It is also unjust and a violation of human rights to force children to learn in English language that is not their native language.

    • @ jo. Just give your side of the story if you have any, instead of insulting all the time. It must be very exhausting to be you. Not everyone on this blog is a cadre like you. You comment on every story even when you have nothing to say apart from insults.

    • @Jo. Ba Jo you are still a shootist. Give us a justification why bemba should be used as a language of instructions in schools. I do not agree we should use local languages. Lets look through the eye of the needle, we will see imperialists asking pf to conduct education in local languages so to prepare for the catastrophic generation that will not fit in the global economy. Pf has to be careful with the policy they intend to pursue otherwise Zambia will dropping center for educated foreigners!


    • Ba Peter why are contributing in English and you are very consistent with your English. All those countries that you keep mentioning eg China, Germany, France, Brazil how many languages in each country do they use as a medium of teaching? By this I mean how many does France use? Three or four or six? And if you look at the population what is the percentage in terms of those languages? And just yap…

    • English is a global language which we choose to learn as citizens of the world but learning a local language that is no your native language by compulsion is a violation of human rights. Why should natives of the Copperbelt in Chief Ndubeni, Machiya and Shimukunami, to mention a few be compelled to learn Bemba, a language native to Northern Province instead of their own Lamba? This is a violation of human rights and it will lead to the preservation of Bemba Culture at the expense of Lamba Culture. If the intention is to preserve our local languages, then let us have 73 official local languages broadcast on ZNBC instead of the current 7 because it is unfair and a violation by government to promote only 7 local languages and neglect 66.

  4. I think all these things now sounds hollow.why?
    People who claim to be Godly angels are the most corrupt and politically confused individuals who are confusing the masses just to promote their selfishly hiden agendas.
    Government can not work effectively with this too much talk from one story to the other.is this what you call checks and balances.Nay you miss.

    If Zambian CSOs were a woman marriade to Gorvenment.I can simply call them a nagging wife who doesnt want peace but fights everyday.
    You ask for too much at the same time and you are the first to complain government is overspending.That is hypocrisy.You want to sit with government for every decision it is making so that you chew money in form of allowances.why should govt sit with you to investigate hunger while they know who…

  5. Mwashibukeni ba Katolika, for the past months people have been talking about these issues and you the Catholics choose to stay mute coz you are the same people who used to issue the so called pastoral letters to vote for the Panga Family. Where were u when they were hacking each other, where were you when they removed maize subsidy and were justifying its removal and now that they have revoked SI 103 is when you have realised that things are BAD. Welcome to reality.

  6. This church is now confused. Their own son has let him down. Not all people who call me Lord Lord will enter the Kingdom of my Father

  7. The same people that have prepared this easy knew very well that Sata was a:

    Sick Person

    At the backdrop of this, they used pulpits for the crusade, ushered him to plot one by heavily funding his campaign and using Father Bwalya’s Red Campaigns, while denouncing Fr.Bwalya when it suited them ( The clerics )

    There is something called Father Time. And time has come back to bite our brothers and sisters from the pulpit.

    You can forgive the youth, for voting for Sata, because most of them were not around or were too young or babies the between 1983 and 2006 to know him. The men from the pulpit need to own up and bite their tongue.

    Zambia is melting so fast like “Cone Ice Iream” on a hot…

  8. Is the president concious enough to comprehend what is going on? Even his wife, the first lady, is conspicously absent from the public. Somebody needs to find out what is going on behind the gates of State House. “Ati” he is now appearing on facebook, my foot. Self denial can be just as bad as being sick, if not worse. MCS needs to put his house in order, otherwise, he is going to go the way of all dicatators.

  9. Lenje should be an official language because it is the easiest! What do you think Zambians?

  10. @Jo: I am Bemba, though i guess there is alot of FOOLISHNESS in your post at #1.2 Very disappointing especially coming from an adult. Feel really sorry for your Children and beloved Wife if at all you have any.

  11. cont.. from # 7

    Zambia is melting so fast like “Cone Ice Cream” on a hot sunny October day.

    As for the youth, now you have seen for yourselves. “More Money In Your Pocket” has turned out to be “No Money At All”.

  12. @Jo: I am Bemba, though i guess there is alot of FOOLISHNESS in your post at #1.2 Very disappointing especially coming from an adult like you. Feel really sorry for your Children and beloved Wife if at all you have any.

  13. The main Theme of this conference or media briefing was no other than the SI.103 of 2013.

    Infact previous govts did not realise that certain incentives that were given to the church and other social groupings were being abused.

    For More info ask anyone who works for Zambia revenue authority.He/she will tell you how good these guys are in tax evasion not tax avoidance.

    They have used the word of God and the Bible to deprive govt of revenue which is needed for development.They build churches( which are” monuments” in disguise for Men and not for God) where they collect more money as offering and tithe from the poor.

  14. From the way I know the characters in the PF Camp, I don’ t think they will stomach any of the humble appeals above. The guys are stubborn and they all belong to the ”know it all” belief. Their only major concept is to poach for money wherever they can have the privilege to find it thereby leading the country into a debt trap. Already, they are targeting the money which the poor Miners in KCM Plc have saved through Saturnia Regina from the year 2000. The question is where do they want to drive the country to ? I fear that by the time these crooks leave office, most coffers in the country will be dry and empty.

  15. Good advice there, he that has ears let him listen. Pride comes before a fall( idiom)

    Similarly proverbs 16:18 pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.






  17. For the first time in Zambia (possibly 2nd) Catholics, Pentecostals, Muslims, Hindu’s businessmen,farmers,students,teachers,nurses,doctors,are all in agreement- PF is a detriment to Zambia.All decisions they are making are incredibly dumb and ill conceived.The sooner they go the better Zambia will be.

  18. GEORGE COSMAS ZUMAILE LUNGU how can a normal person have 4 names, would teaching in local languages help ? No as seen from this mans names is a combination of english and Nsenga , such characters need to be taught in english so their children can have english names and compete in the global village.

  19. Arguing that using English in early stages of schooling is the only real respect of human rights of African children is contradictory. What consultations then are we talking about? When English Medium got introduced, what type of consultation took place? The Church must lead by example. Taxing of Non-Profit Making Organization is indirect tax. It concerns import duty on motor vehicles and equipment. To my understanding, exemption must be case by case and not automatic. I do not see why NGOs that can peddle foreign propaganda must be exempted from normal taxation. These are interest groups that must negotiate with government. As for Barotselandpolitik, the way the PF government is proceeding is responsible and mature. Condoning secession is high treason.

  20. I mis Shikapwasha,He tod off thez Catholiks that they brot war in Rwanda coz of their careles tok.Pilishi ths tym around giv us a brek twapapata.

  21. Good message and serious issues raised indeed!
    changing the government is not the solution like many think but change in politians way of doing busines especially on stakeholders engagement is what we need in this country. Good leaders must learn to listen!!

  22. @Mushota,
    Now Mushota as a matter of fact speaking sense! Lets look through the eye of the needle, we will see imperialists asking pf to conduct education in local languages so to prepare for the catastrophic generation that will not fit in the global economy. Pf has to be careful with the policy they intend to pursue otherwise Zambia will dropping center for educated foreigners!

  23. Jo (7.1)

    Divert that energy you use to insult others – by taking a white paper and a pen. Write a vision, a dream, a plan and then follow it through.

    Who knows, one day you might create jobs for the youth and feed the multitude of hungry children in the urban streets of Zambia

    Dont spend every minute of your life, exhausting and wasting valuable energy, time, abilities trying to prove nothing but your frustration and severe bitterness.

    ****** You will not get insults from me hitting back at you. I am at peace, I love & appreciate life so much to waste it on a person like you ******

    Good luck in your endeavours.

  24. Use of local languages for giving instructions to Grades 1 to 4 policy will not work and if it does, those whose children will be subjected to this law,who are not of the language of instruction, will leave their language/s in the archives of Zambia. Their language/s will die.
    The kids for these grades are very tender and easily manipulated. It takes barely a month for a kid of these grades to forget one language and be fluent in another. Though I am in Lala land I will not sacrifice my language by allowing my children to be instructed in Lala. Let the Lalas, Swakas, Lambas, Lenjes sacrifice their languages, but
    Leave NWP out of this. It’s surprising that govt is referring between the Lundas and the Luvales instead of uniting them. Any blood shed, this govt will shoulder the blame…

  25. There is nothing wrong in learning in vernacular, in actual fact it helps you understand things quicker than you would otherwise. Ask those who go to study in China or Russia. They have to first learn Chinese or Russian before studying Engineering or Medicine. The more languages you speak the better. English should of course be learnt.

    • If you learn in vernacular side by side with English you can easily connect theory with practical or reality. But because of sticking too much with English only, we end up with situations like where a woman selling tomato at the market fails to give you an answer to 5 x 5. But if you ask her the cost of five heaps of tomatoes each one costing 5 kwacha, she will not miss the answer. The same applies to graduates who can give an answer to complicated calculations but fail to connect the same calculations to reality.

    • Russian isn’t the only language in Russia!!

      It also acts as a sort of Lingua Franca just for that country!

  26. Here is a display of black on black hatred as explained by Steve Biko. African Natives were taught English, French, Portuguese, German, all languages of the invading European colonisers and they didn’t object. Someone tries to teach them their own languages and they start objecting.  African inferiority complex is well exemplified here. The white man’s things can be taught to us but not our own.

    Ask yourselves why don’t Bemba people have Lozi names? Why don’t Tonga people have Luvale names? Why don’t Kaonde people have Ngoni names? They don’t because blacks hate fellow black people and don’t want to be seen to have copied from fellow inferior beings. Often on this blog people ask why a certain tribal grouping of people don’t want to learn other groupings’ languages?  

    • As stated below perhaps the irony is that most English people wind up with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean names compliments of Hebrew and Greek biblical popularity. Even better…most don’t know it. I also love the mixed tribe names that come from intermarriage so all is not lost…said with tongue firmly in cheek…

    • The issue here is which native languages are to be taught? Surely, in many cases, children will be forced to learn a foreign language . What use is it to replace Nsenga with Chewa for example. I love Nsenga, my language, and although i was forced to learn Chewa in High School, English has kept me in touch with many friends from across Zambia.

  27. You have now got the answer from Europe’s anointed holy men.

     Zambians should not allow the Catholics who were a major tool for the mental colonisation of Africans to continue being the oppressors’ tool for chaining Africa to colonialism.  All of us should wake up to the fact that the Catholics are archaic and represent oppression. They oppressed plenty of people before the arrival of Martin Luther King and they find it hard to shed that skin of oppressor that they have always had.

    The Catholics refused to use any African languages in their Mass preferring to use Latin. They refused blacks to use African drums  in their churches seeing these African ‘things’ as belonging to the devil. Everything African belonged to the devil when these missionaries arrived on our continent. They…

    • Pretty annoying that the concept of church and running things from Rome was the brainchild of that African dude Augustine… hijacked to a point but that church still did kinda sanction slavery and had no problems unleashing their powers to have their way… They’ve eventually let us have our dance, drum and preaching in any lingo you prefer and new churches have sprung up to reduce their dominance of old… I think their statement is pretty on the money this time though. But you’re entitled to whip them for their evil past… the ‘third world’ churches are better than their counterparts who are still pretty scandalous…

    • Sorry for the typo in 27.16. Meant to write ‘your interpretation’ and not ‘you may interpretation.’

  28. Contd..

    . They even refused African names during baptism. That is why most of you have European names. All the European churches believed that God could only accept you with a European name. That is why your parents had to be given new names to civilise them. With modernity most churches have changed these opinions but experience will tell you the Catholics are usually the last to come to the table. Catholics must not perpetuate black hatred of black. Or Is that  the European God’s mission?



    • Are Higher Taller local language words? If you dont like English why are visiting this site which is white man’s creation? How would you have known school had the English man not been here?

      This policy will work only if govt builds 72 schools in each locality to cater for each of our 72 ethnic groups.

    • Higher Taller! You may call it inferiority complex but the question we need to ask is how the introduction of local languages as languages of instruction will benefit the country in the grand scheme of things. I like looking at things from different angles.

      Firstly, it will be good for young people as the modern day ones seem not to care about speaking in their mother tongue. However, not all people on the copperbelt province are Bemba and therefore would be unfair to force a Tonga or Lozi learn science in Bemba.

      Secondly, it will create divisions within the country. A pupil being taught in Lozi in Mongu will find it hard to learn when that pupil moves to the southern province where they speak Tonga.

    • Thirdly, globalisation requires us to trade with other countries. The Chinese and Germans have made it a point to learn English which is considered as a business language. These are powerful economies and have their own languages but they have seen it fit to learn the English language for business purposes. We cannot afford to trade with the West in Bemba, uh uh, no!

      Last but not least, there are so many languages and tribes in the country and there is no language called Zambian. What unites us is the common English language, just like in Nigeria (even if it is broken English so called pigeon). It is a blessing and a curse at the same time. It leaves us with no option but to continue with the way it has been.

      I rest my case.

    • @Reality as far as parents have told me the vernaculars are not being used as a mode of instruction but as a compulsory subject up to grade 4. In other words the English that you think unites us and you may have an argument there still continues d. Its not being substituted.

    • Imwe Ba Dawson you mean you have no wit? The guy’s name Higher Taller is playing on the famous name Ayatollah.

    • Here is me thinking that it was actually only the ignorant arrogance of the colonialist riding on the back of missionary presence with gun hidden behind the bible that managed to provide the concept that Hebrew and Greek names from the bible are ‘English’.

      Divide and conquer was surgical, clinical and long term planning so add ‘The Invention of Tribes’ as a dimension then you are falling in to a trap set up for this kind of fallout to occur. The church outlived its usefulness as soon as the coloniser realised we are our own worst enemies.

      The 1960 KK meets Dr King images show an American supposedly freed centuries before fighting for a ‘dream’ and an African handed a dream with freedom who then helps loses that ‘reality’…

      As a hybrid of old and new…we can’t go back…

    • @Reality to address your other argument: the problem with most of us Africans is that we think  we cant come to the globalisation table with Africannness. We think globalisation implies we come to the table wearing European clothes and discarding ours. It doesn’t. For your own information Globalisation wont make the Germany start learning English. He will come to the table as a German. The Japanese man will come to the table with his Japanese. The Arab will come speaking Arabic. Only you Africans will discard your identities, if you have any, for globalisation.

    • @Reality you are indeed confirming Higher Taller’s assertion that you have an African inferiority complex. You say We cannot afford to trade with the West in Bemba! Why not? Stop belittling my language. Everyone trades in their own languages except Africans of course.

    • @ Higher Taller, On the issue of the dress code, believe you me this is where I admire our friends from West Africa. They have preserved their traditional wear and are proud of it, especially Nigerians and Ghanaians.

      I did not understand the bit where you say Germans/Arabs/Japanese will come to the round table as they are without hiding their identity. I don’t think it is what I implied in my earlier comment. I am not advocating for losing our identity, NO! We can still preserve it and remain Zambian and be proud of it but when it comes to doing business, the same Germans, Arabs and Japanese will choose to either use a translator or speak the language. I do business and hold conference calls with these guys and they use English to make transactions easier. It is an invaluable tool!

    • @ Ubuntungwa mu Jambojambo. I could have used any other Zambian tribe as an example and chose to use Bemba. Apologies if you find this offensive.

      Getting back to the issue at hand, how would you do business with a German in your mother tongue? Won’t you find it arduous using a translator who understands both German and Bemba? Or would it be cheaper just for both of you to speak English?

      I don’t see any inferiority complex here. English is just a tool you can use to communicate with others. For this reason the French hate the English. After all not all Zambians speak the same language and we use English to understand one another.

      Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of being African and Zambian in particular despite living in the West for years! English is just a tool!!!

    • Reality never mind the slightly different interpretation you have got but I also meant Arabs Germans etc all use their languages. Only us africans dont. A translator has to be found you say. So why not find a translator for African lingo? The advantages of mother tongue preservation are deeper and more far reaching than our superficial knowledge of English which so far has taken us nowhere. Most of us just want to pretend we know English but cant use it properly. Just look at the blogging here and even the reports by so called english language professionals (the journalists) on the websites!

    • @Reality I accept your apology but stop lying. When anyone reads your sentence: “We cannot afford to trade with the West in Bemba, uh uh, no!” you are clearly turning your nose up at Vernaculars (Bemba in particular) and expressing derisive shock at using Bemba. Your sentence is meant to deliver home the message that can anyone imagine such a backaward language being used in a civilised act such as trade.

    • @ Higher Taller, I agree with what you are saying but don’t you think parents are also responsible for making the English language look superior to their own mother tongue by using it with their kids? Every time I visit Zambia I hear some kids who are not even yet in primary school speak English only. they cannot speak the language of their parent…Shame!

      As the old adage goes ‘money talks’. This gives the Sheiks and the Chinese every ‘God-given’ right to do business on their own terms. There are so many languages in Africa’s powerful economies (South Africa and Nigeria) and yet they still stick to English. Perhaps the next question (which we can take to another blog) is: ‘Could the choice of language be dictated by the wealth of a nation?’

      Ps I am looking at things…

    • @Ubuntungwa mu Jambojambo I am not sure what you are qualifying as a lie as I merely gave an example. You may interpretation may be biased but you should notice that I am looking at this subject objectively. I have not implied that Bemba is a backward language. Otherwise I would be doing the same to other languages spoken in Africa’s powerful economies such as Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Ibo, Yoruba, Hausa…etc.

      Let’s critically analyse this subject and look at the pros and cons before we can affirm our take on it.

    • Sorry for the typo in 27.16. Meant to write ‘your interpretation’ and not ‘you may interpretation.’

    • Reality Yes my brother you’ve hit the nail on the head. Parents are to blame but thisis all because they were subjected to an educational system that taught them to look down upon their own. So in their minds education is learning English. Most bloggers here also went through the same indoctrination. It has left them thinking thats how everyone gets educated. The Chinese dont teach Things like European history but focus on Chinese history and this has not made them lag behind. On the contrary they ate now the 2nd biggest economy. Someone has to stop this mental enslavement of Zambians. That someone is the government

  29. This timely. Read the Post on page 2. Government closes a school in Mwinilunga after pupils rioted and refused to be taught in Lunda because they are Luvale.

  30. This is rubbish. Talk,talk and more talk with no action. You went to the cathedral to pray and now you are still praying and writing to a government whose leader is Chumbu Munshololwa. Instead of mass demonstrations you are still talking. You just said the issues you raised at the begining of 2013 have still not been dealt with and you are still talking without action. Even prayer with no action is dead.

  31. None of my kids shall be subjected to this policy. If Makasa Kasonde stands to gain from this policy, build a school where his children and grand children will be instructed in Bemba, Lunda, Chokwe or Lala. As for me I dont see a Tumbuka accepting that his kids be instructed in ChiChewa. We have accepted English as the language our kids should be instructed in in schools. If some parents decide that their kids speak English in their homes, that’s their choice.

    I urge govt not to fuel tribal conflicts in the country. Let’s continue with English and teach local languages as subjects only for the peace we have had to continue. For now concentrate on supplying medicines to our health facilities and connect NWP to ZESCO national grid,

  32. This policy of teaching in local language will only reignite tribalism which Zambia has largely done away with . It it reinventing the wheel . It will also bring class division between Those in private schools versus those in government school.

  33. Zambia has so many languages and we have been united as a nation by use of one language, English and this in itself brings harmony in the country because no one tribe is then seen as superior over the others. Look at nations in Africa that tried this system and see what gains if at all any, it gave them. I think it’s not too late to admit this is a mistake and leave it and go back to what works, it’s human to make mistakes, what’s inhuman is not being able to admit you made a mistake. I think the system of using of local languages will throw us a couple decades backwards and catching up might not even be guaranteed. Government should build a few new schools where local languages will be used and let parents who want their kids to learn in vernacular send their kids there. Thanks.

  34. higher Taller where you are now in diaspora, your local language is of no use, and useless, it hasn’t added value to you, just tell government to fix our country and not
    trying to fix things that need no fixing,

  35. The government shound listen to its people, let the local language be just one of the subjects not learning science in a local language. Infact this government is just worsning the learning culture can we learn computer components in tonga. In Some countries where they have only one or two languages its posiable not forcing the Luvale to learn lunda

    • One of the biblical commandments says, “Do not accuse falsely”. In any case, the message, and not the bearer, is of essence here. Carderism will not put food on your table my brother. Whenever we are discussing national issues, it is important that jokers keep a distance from what they can’t comprehend than expose their ignorance like this. These bishops, wherever they are coming from, are spot on!!

  36. Botswana used to insist on instructing pupils in Setswana, I believe, up to a certain level in primary school. The results were telling. Disastrous consequences in later years, and guess what? All middle class including politicians sent their kids to English grammar private schools and kindergartens. For those in the know, ever wondered why Rwanda has elected to switch from French to English as the country’s official language, and they are proud of Kinyarwanda too? Economics! Their main trading partners in East Africa all speak English. What about the Tanzanians and their Swahili? Serious rethink there too. And in any case local languages have always been taught in Zambia as an elective subject. That’s sufficient. Kaunda got it right.

    • Ever wondered why Zimbabwe has the best education system in Africa? They teach Shona/Ndebele from grade 1 in all schools including top private schools. I like Zimbabewans for their love for shona or Ndebele. Zambians are a disgrace with their fake English.

    • @ Chanda Beu, I agree with your observation but don’t you think parents in Zambia also have a role to play in this? A number of them, especially in cities use English to communicate with their children. It is high time we learnt to appreciate our own languages and not wait to be taught in schools.

      Looking at this from a different angle, what we have in Zambia is both a curse and a blessing. I have a lot of Shona and Ndebele friends. We are talking of only two major tribes in Zimbabwe. You should see the rivalry between them. And it has led to serious tribalism. Everyone thinks his tribe is superior to the other.

    • Chanda Beu you engaged your brain very well; Zimbabwe dear bro has only two major languages just like all the countries that people are relying on. The Ethiopians have Amharic, the Chinese Mandarin…Zambia has 73. My children are Mambwes and I want them to be taught in their mother tongue because where I live and work they will be forced to learn Kaonde. Why? I have nothing against Kaonde but what makes the seven tribes Chewa, Bemba, Kaonde etc superior to Mambwe?

  37. MUSHOTA, your today’s comment is very surprisingly good. Did you just intend to show some wisdom for a while, just to come and start something else latter?

  38. Is not a shame that the WHITE FATHERS from Ireland translated the Bible from English to Tonga and Bemba after learning our language.

  39. I’m so shocked that the Catholics who for many years have been involved in education can be against the teaching in local languages in lower primary. Empirical evidence shows that children taught in this way progress better academically because things are better understood in local languages at lower grades. That’s why nowadays we have students who can’t read or write in secondary schools because of weak foundations at lower primary. Why would learning in a local language be an abuse of human rights? Isn’t that supposed to be natural? What’s being a zambian if you can’t even read or write in one local language? Catholics should imidiately stop this inferiority complex as we enter the jubilee. Let’s talk about issues like the allowing of mining in the lower Zambezi pPlease

  40. I disagree with the bishops on:
    1 Bye elections . The PF govt is trying to make the elections clean by ensuring those who practice corruption to get to parliament are brought to book. This willclean up our elections. Is there anything wrong with this?
    2. Indisciplined nurses…….Why encourage and support indosciplined workers? By the way there is no stand off. They have been fired. Period.
    3.Native languages- It is good for our children to learn our native languages. How can we be natives if we cannot speak our languages?
    Tax for NGOs….This is very good . These NGOs and churches have become big businesses and yet the do not pay taxes. A poor soul pays 10% tithe and the bishop imports and BMW 6 at not duty….Is this right?

  41. Our colleagues are promoting ICT through “one laptop for every pupil campaigns” and encouraging studies that stimulate critical thinking….whereas we are doing the exact opposite.

  42. Can’t we agree on one national language such as Nyanja, which seems more neutral for heavens sake? Tanzanians use Kiswahili as a language of instruction and are able to easily agree. English there is lean’t as a subject. Probably this explains why that country is currently developing faster than Zambia.

    I have agreed with most of what our Right Reverends have expressed except this issue of language. Honestly its not convincing to say when our children are instructed in languages that are not native then it amounts to violation of their rights. If that is the argument then using english as a language of instruction is the worst form of violation.

    • Nyanja is not neutral. It is more ChiChewa inclined. Only English is neutral for us. Maybe we could add Mandarin.

    • Those Cathoclic priests are really crazy. They speak as if English is our native language! But Jocelyne what you may not know is that Swahili like Nyanja is a lingua Franca. There is no tribe of people called Swahili.

    • @Mutale Chikwanda, Chinyanja is neutral. If you look at Chinyanja and Chichewa they are especially nowadays very different because Chinyanja has taken on its own path of development far separate from Chichewa. There is now an influence of ChiBemba in Chinyanja. Listen to Lusakans speaking Chinyanja and if you are Chewa you wont grasp any thing. Chinyanja has words such as osa twanga, Which would be osa nyada in Chichewa. Chinimvelela kalico which would be chinimvelela kwidzi. Its got an advantage for a national language.

  43. zambian language should start from Grade 1 to Grade 12.Most of countries we visit their use there on languages.We were not born English.

    • Too late my love. Zambia enjoys the peace because of English. Lucky! I don’t even speak much of it but, I learn through it. Marvelous, thank KK, he was not excellent buts on this ask Tanzania.

  44. This is just the beginning. In dictators minds, a leader knows what’s good fot the country. All our our strides down the drain.


  46. Maybe the government needs to educate the public more on this matter of local languages than just introduce it. They need to set up a website, print some booklets, use whatever modes of media to educate Zambians in Zambia and abroad about this issue. Let them use practical examples from every continent to prove that this is a better approach. This is going to be a complete paradigm shift for a lot of us who were brought up in Africa with a Western mind set so most of our thinking is done in English and we never paid much attention to Bemba lessons in school because all the teachers did in Bemba lessons was read us books and we couldn’t understand half of the contents of the books because book were written in the real Bemba language whereas we spoke Copperbelt Bemba. Just a thought.

  47. It is interesting to note that the same people who are for the idea are busy posting in English…lol

    If you think native languages should be taught to our kids, you start with yours; Then after 30 years we will let our grand kids learn native languages if we see the benefits of that.

    • INFERIORITY COMPLEX BABA. Think of it, your child learns english and Chinese and yet cant speak your mother tonque?? Really INFERIORITY COMPLEX of Zambians who want to aline themselves to the Britons and Chinese….shame.

  48. There was a time when the church was very powerful–in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.”‘ But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they…

  49. “They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent–and often even vocal–sanction of things as they are.” Martin Luther King

  50. The objection is not on the teaching of local languages so that our kids know these languages, it is about using these languages to teach other subjects like physics, maths, etc.

    By the way I am informed that even private schools have to follow this stupid and ill-conceived regulation.

  51. On the language dear catholics am not with you. What is wrong learning the local language in our tender age? How are your children going to learn you divergent Zambian cultures if they cant speak such languages? what identity are your children going to have as Zambians? Are they Britons or Chinese since now schools have started teaching chinese language. You are proud of your child learning chinese than one of you Zambian Language? This is horrible INFERIORITY I have never noted in any people in the world other than Zambians….shaaa.

    Peace and Prosperity to Mother Zambia.


  53. If PF wants local languages in schools, then each of the 72 tribes should be taught in each and every area where that tribe is spoken. The time for tribal colonialization of one tribe by another (and, here, 7 tribes dominating the rest) is long gone. We fought foreign (British) colonialization, we shall fight local (PF tribal) colonialization, too.

  54. we have 72 tribes but why only select 7 that is true violation of humam rights, why should my children be subjected to learn Nyanja or bemba that’s not there mother tongue just because they live on the copperbelt or Lusaka,the all thing is a disaster.

  55. I dont agree with the 12 Bishops on By elections. Even though they are expensive by elections are necessary. They are legally provided for in the ECZ Act and are a recourse to justice.

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