Catholic Bishops commended the Patriotic Front-PF administration for the remarkable achievements made towards the uplifting of the welfare of the people despite the mounting challenges the country faces.
The Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) delegation comprising the church’s 12 most senior clergy, was led by Archbishop Chama Bishops when they met President Lungu at Statehouse on July 16, 2015.
The Republican President who was accompanied by his special assistants Mr Lukangaba Sukwana for Legal, Mr Amos Chanda, Press &Public Relations, and the Permanent Secretary Mr Emmanuel Chilubanama discussed a broad range of national issues during the meeting with Catholic Bishops.
“Despite the many challenges your government faces, there are good things happening in our country and we would like, through you, to commend the Government for the achievements made in advancing the welfare of the Zambian people and their dignity,” said Bishop Alick Banda in a speech read on behalf of ZEC.
“We recognize in particular, the road, health and educational infrastructure development programme and the resolve of your government to entrench the national motto of One Zambia, One Nation,” the Bishops further said.
This is contained in a statement made available to ZANIS by Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations, Amos Chanda today.
Mr Chanda said, as leaders of the Catholic Church in Zambia, the Bishops assured the Head of State that the meeting would continue to promote mutual understanding and forge cordial relations between the Church and the State.
He explained that the Bishops called on government’s attention to Statutory Instrument No. 103 of 2013, which revoked the exemptions on duty for imported vehicles and other essential items extended to Public Benefit Organisations.
Mr Chanda revealed that the Bishops submitted that the SI makes it difficult for them to import vehicles for use to render essential health and educational services to the poor.
“The Bishops also raised the critical issues of care for the environment, which they feared was being dangerously exploited especially through irresponsible cutting down of trees, “said Mr Chanda.
They called on the President to ensure increased funding to health and education sectors and for greater investment in renewable energy.
The Bishops also noted that it was inevitable that Zambia will have to resort to borrowing on the open market in order to execute the country’s ambitious programme of infrastructure development.
Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations, however said the Bishops cautioned that debt must be kept within sustainable limits.
He also said the Bishops drew government’s attention to the threat of religious fundamentalism and the threat of family disintegration due to various socio-economic pressures on it.
And the Bishops praise President Lungu for his active dialogue with traditional rulers and called on him to extend the same to other stakeholders.
On the constitution-making process, the Bishops called for continued efforts towards greater consensus.
Meanwhile, Mr Chanda said the Head of State assured the Bishops that his administration respects the role the Church plays in nation building, and pledged that he will continue to ensure that there was a health relationship between the Church and State.
President Lungu urged the Church to help forestall unnecessary tribal and regional sentiment that seemed to a preoccupation of some people.