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Alba Iulia
Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Taking advantage of God’s flock:Why October 18 should not be a holiday in Zambia

Columns Taking advantage of God’s flock:Why October 18 should not be a holiday...

Edgar Lungu during the Fasting and Prayer Church services at Lusaka Showground: praying , mediating and releasing dove
Edgar Lungu during the Fasting and Prayer Church services at Lusaka Showground: praying , mediating and releasing dove

President Edgar Lungu’s voice stirred the crowd into a frenzy causing some to speak in tongues and others to mutter the words “Glory be to God!” Lungu heard them and knew his carefully crafted prayer loaded with “Lord, Hear our Cry” was tapping into their unconscious resources. At this dark moment, many who believe that the evocation of the Spirit brings about “signs and wonders” were hopeful God would salvage Zambia from it economic woes.

I can state here and now that the Day of Prayer was nothing less than an uncouth exploitation of the public psyche. It was a well-orchestrated emotional phenomenon designed to elicit a sympathetic and supportive response from Zambians. It became even more perceptible when Lungu, unilaterally promised to build a mega interdenominational church and declared October 18 a national holiday within the same week as Independence Day.

Let me make explicate. Ten months into Lungu’s reign the sudden drop in copper prices, the falling water levels of the Kariba Dam, the drop of economic growth from 7% to 5%, and the fall of the Kwacha caught him off guard. To imagine the worst economic crisis in post-Kaunda era was happening under his watch so early in his presidency was worrisome.

With fourteen months to the presidential elections, he knew the poor performance of the Kwacha would come back to haunt him. He did not want to be remembered as the president who tanked the economy in the interregnum. At a loss what to do, he applied the “wag-the-dog,” tactic used by politicians to distract public attention from an issue unfavorable to the people. He called for the day of prayer to camouflage the label of failure.

A legion of interdenominational souls converged upon the Lusaka Show grounds drawn not by the politics of the day but by the power of God. In their merciful and compassionate manner they left their homes to partake in what Lungu called the national day of repentance, prayer and fasting. Millions more in different venues across the country felt obligated to join in the observance.

The great response to Lungu’s call for a day of prayer can be attributed to the great number of Zambians that have “accepted Jesus as their personal savior.” For many, prayer has become the daily bread. Day after day, they use prayer to confront their own crises, trials, and tribulations. Most are driven by words like “repentance,” “forgiveness,” and “obedience.” Often such words leave them susceptible to exploitation and manipulation.

It can be said that since December 29, 1991, the day Fredrick Chiluba declared Zambia a Christian nation, the country has grown spiritually. Like a tsunami, the Assemblies of God and Apostolic faith have inundated the once domineering traditional churches. Today, worship characterized by intense emotional enthusiasm, raising of hands in the act of praying, speaking in tongues, and dancing to foot-stomping “kalindula gospel” has become the norm. It is in honor of this remarkable transformation that Lungu should have declared December 29 a prayer holiday and not October 18.

Now that I mention the October 18 holiday let me expound. The holiday is problematic and illogical for various reasons. First, the fact that the National Day of Prayer coincides with the worst plunge of the Kwacha in recent history, makes the day undeserving of a holiday. A holiday is by definition a day set aside to celebrate an occasion. For instance, Good Friday is meant to celebrate the death of Christ, and Mandela Day is a celebration of his legacy.

There are no holidays like Earthquake Day, Hiroshima Day, 9-11 Day, Poverty Day, AIDS Day because such occasions bring about unhealthy emotions. In all regions of the world where calamity has struck, dark occasions are observed without taking a break from work. Moreover, the plunging of the Kwacha and the economic malaise Zambia is experiencing are man-caused. They are as the result of uncreative governance, poor planning, bad policies, reckless spending, heavy borrowing, corruption, and lack of transparency and accountability.

Zambians should not be forced to use prayer to glorify incompetence year after year for eternity.

Zambians should not be forced to use prayer to glorify incompetence year after year for eternity. It is unfair to turn to divine intervention due to our lack of imagination and unintelligent survival instincts. God has already taken care of us. He has given us a large quantity of natural resources, including minerals like copper, cobalt, uranium, bauxite. He has given us rivers and lakes, and rich fertile soil and left us to our own devices. It is up to us to use both our heads and hands to turn Zambia into a paradise.

How has Botswana, a country covered in 70% desert managed to surpass us? From Khama to Khama its leaders have exercised the principles of good governance. Year after year, they have shown commitment to improving the economic and social prospects of their people. Between 1980 and 1990 they ingeniously imported Zambian professionals to train their people and are now yielding the benefits. Currently, President Ian Khama is leading an exemplary government that continues to benefit from its God-given resources. He has learned from his predecessors that only good and intelligent governance can unlock potential.

As for us, we have failed to figure out how to solve the load-shedding problems and are instead on our knees stooped in intercessory prayers asking God to fill up the Kariba Dam. The dam was built between 1955 and 1959. It has been constantly supplying 1,600 megawatts of electricity to Zambia and Zimbabwe for fifty-six years. Each time Zambia has experienced a drought a water deficit to keep the turbines turning has occurred. And when this has happened we have experienced load-shedding and power-rationing.

During the 1991/92 drought, the Kariba reservoir dropped to its lowest level. Chiluba did not panic. He turned to aid agencies and Non-Governmental Organization and succeeded in avoiding a national disaster. Lungu should not make people of Zambia to think the water level is such a major natural adverse it calls for God’s intervention.

Instead of depending on the Kariba Dam as a major source of energy, he should create another hydropower plant on the Kafue River and increase the number of standby thermal power plants. Most importantly, heavy-duty industries like the mines should supplement their power needs with wind power and solar energy. China is already applying this kind of energy on their mines. The PF government should appeal to the Chinese to do the same for Zambia for free.

As for the falling copper prices, Lungu must learn from Kenneth Kaunda who was caught unaware in 1974 when copper prices fell sharply on the world market. It was this crisis that led to his eventual downfall. Levy Mwanawasa understood the dangers of depending solely on copper and in his short reign, set out on a task to replace mining with agriculture as the country’s mainstay.
Let me end with these words: Imagine for a moment if in its four years of reign, the PF government had managed to reverse the curse of natural resources and improved the economy threefold; if it had strengthened the Kwacha, created jobs, put food on the plate of every Zambian, and then declared October 18 a day of prayer. A quivering mass of energized humanity, in homes, churches, and stadia across the nation would have been in tears of joy, chanting “Thank you Jesus!”

By Field Ruwe
Field Ruwe is a US-based Zambian media practitioner, historian, author, and a doctoral candidate. Learn more about him on his website www.aruwebooks.com. On it you shall access his autobiography, articles, and books. Contact him, blog, or join in the debate. ©Ruwe2012.


    • Spot on Field. Lungu and his minions have even taken this further by commissioning a K53 million hours e for national prayers. Honestly will God be happy with Lungu for such misplaced priorities? Can’t we all congregate at Heroes Stadium for prayers and use the K53 million for more pressing issues. Edgar has been lied to, someone has told him to exploit the religious nature of Zambians and he wants to exploit that for his 2016 re-election. Too little, too late

    • There is nothing wrong with having a day of national prayer, what Zambians need to guard against and reject is any political mileage that may be attached to it if at all . All the Glory should go back to God.

    • If the PF govt did all those things you mention in the last paragraph, HH and his minions will collapse and come 2016…….It will happen.

    • It was great to pray now can we be seen to be working.Faith without works is dead…. I’m still skeptical about Lungu’s intentions but the truth will be revealed.God is not mocked.

  1. Nice one Field. Religion is retrogressive. The most advanced nations in the world apart from the States are not religious at all because they spend all the time working as opposed to jumping up and down and speaking to an imaginary being in the sky. Africa has the most religious countries in the world and also the poorest and dull Lungu who may not be so dull after all is taking advantage of the dullness of christians.

    • @dudelove, Field did not say religion is retrogressive, he is merely pointing out abuse of souls that have a belief to mask failure just as these conmen pastors do. Otherwise is a well written article Field. Factual

    • Hi Cat power, I know he never said that but am atheist and I always say religion is retrogressive. He may have not said it implicitly but this article implies it in a way.

    • @Dudelove; Whom is Field referring to when he says “He has given us rivers and lakes….”? Is he talking about a person or God? Don’t read what you want to hear.

    • Jkl
      Assuming this entity you slave for so hard, is actually there. Why has it not shown you who its right people are? All I hear and read are claims by people like you that you are its creation.

      But anyway, assuming Field meant what you read, he would be wrong because both science and religion agree that plants and animals were here before humans. If the bible is anything to go by, creation of humans had nothing to do with what was already here. It wad an afterthought.

  2. You can fool some people sometimes but you can’t fool all the time! A least some people are thinking in Zambia. Shame that people fooled like this. But bane Lesa tabepwa.

  3. “Zambians should not be forced to use prayer to glorify incompetence year after year for eternity.”
    “He (God) has given us rivers and lakes, and rich fertile soil and left us to our own devices. It is up to us to use both our heads and hands to turn Zambia into a paradise.”
    “How has Botswana, a country covered in 70% desert managed to surpass us? From Khama to Khama its leaders have exercised the principles of good governance.”
    Nice one Field.

  4. Field: Who are you to say 18th Oct must not be a holiday.? If it’s God’s will there’s Nada, Zilch, Zero, Nix that you can do about the 18th of Oct. Come next year people will gather again and do the same unless HH ends up in State House which is very unlikely. So calm down and take a seat, in fact take several seats.

    • And Sir Big-L for my level of skill I think I have comprehended the article better than you. Yes come next year we shall celebrate the collapse of our economy on the 18. The day Mopani confirmed 6800 workers will loose work. the day the kwacha lost etc, Why not on a day Lungu does something nice to bring good mercies of good spirits to the day. You’re the one that needs to calm down. You may not need to hide next year but at this rate phone calls to the Caymine Islands should be your priority.
      Its a suggestion that a would be thought of by a non desperate person. thanks

    • @Cat Power… I am for the 18th of Oct as a day of Prayer, my take on this is not influenced by who called for it or political affiliation but rather I see the sense or logic in seeking God’s face, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge says the bible. I agree we are on opposite sides of the fence. Cat Power you will be shocked at how much I have benefited cash wise for supporting such ideas – ZERO, but I have benefited more for I know am supporting a good course.

  5. Religion is not retrogressive. It is retrogressive only when people are not sincere and use it to their advantage, like blinding people for their incompetence. Even Israelite kings and spiritual leaders at one time wanted to use the name of the Lord but God punished them. Fake Pentecostal leaders are misleading their blind followers who do not study the Bible to learn what God wants. Read Isaiah 58 for the true fast which God desires and not the fake fast of October 18. God will punish!

  6. Field, you are spot on! I love your analysis. I am home after having lived in abroad for a long time! I tell I find the whole approach laughable as even American who are very religious do things like this. The solutions to the economic problems are there and we know them. For some one to start using God’s name in vain with a view to win sympathy and votes, is very unfortunate and we are a laughing stock as an nation. This strategy may actually back fire on the PF. If they do not address the issues and bank on thesympathy vote from the religious fanatics, they will live to regret. The Opposition should just unite to reduce risk of them by beaten by splitting the vote. I am so nauseated with this johny come lately to christianity for political survival!

  7. the fool says in his heart, there is no God. on this one i am with ECL. call me whatever you want to call me. i am a Zambian not any other nationality and my identity is Christian. some countries are envying us right now because of what ECL did. ECL has many weaknesses i agree but we should not blame everything that he does as wrong neither should we say everything he does is right. ECL inherited alot of these wrong things from Sata but people were afraid of Sata. unfortunately, ECL has continued in some of the wrong things that Sata condoned like cadres, land grabbing, lawlessness, SG and her Deputy insolence plus a bevula of Chishimba who thinks threats is the way to. BUT on this one he is right. to some extent i agree maybe with the date that december 29 would have been ideal. but hey…

    • You have completely missed the point @ ine wine. No one has said there is no God. But to use God to champion one’s selfish desires is wrong! ECL is wrong to think people will sleep hungry an say we’re waiting for God to bless Zambia! All he wants is to be relected because people in Zambia are myopic in thinking.

  8. Religion is not retrogressive. It is only retrogressive when fake Pentecostal pastors and their blind followers want to use it to cover their incompetence, adultery and deception. The true fast which God desires is in Isaiah 58 and not the fake fast of October 18. Israelite kings and spiritual leaders also used God’s name for their selfish motives and were punished including being sent in exile. The Bible is given to us so that we learn but it seems our leaders have ignored the lessons.

  9. There are no holidays like Earthquake Day, Hiroshima Day, 9-11 Day, Poverty Day, AIDS Day because such occasions bring about unhealthy emotions.
    point of correction 31st December is world AIDS Day

  10. Satanists will always want to block PRAYER, But unfortunately this time you are late. We shall be prayerful through and through including on 18th OCTOBER. OCTOBER used to be a month for SATANISTS, but NOMORE. By fire by thunder we have claimed what is ours. With or without poverty, we shall praise The Almighty God.

  11. I think apart from the prayers themselves, what is more important is the step of coming together for a common definite purpose of striving for a better zambia though through the avenue of prayer must be commended. What it brings about is hope for better tomorrow. The church in Zambia is a huge public opinion forming platform and it’s effect can not be undermined. If all those people start to skew their thoughts towards hope as opposed to panic as is being advanced by the writer, I believe we will be in a worse off position than we will be with the prayers when handled with the sincerity they deserve. I therefore feel it’s not very far from the direction we ought to be going.

  12. Field Ruwe,
    Come back home and practice your sermons among us.

    You shout too much from a distance.

    We look forward to your academic theorising evolving into practical living.

  13. People learn to say ‘I’ not ‘WE’. When did you become a spokesperson for everyone? Otherwise this is a good articles. How I wish we had a number of people who think like that, Zambia would have been a better place to live in. There is need to unite as zambians for a common purpose. Yes guys we can do it. Yes we can.

  14. I am amazed at the level of ignorance displayed in the above comments concerning the day of prayer.
    Mr Ruwe and those who have no idea of what prayer can do, please do your research on nations who have had days of prayer and fasting for their respective nations. Go and read about the nation of Israel and count how many times, years and centuries they have been calling on God. What about national day of prayer for the USA? When was it started and how successful it has been. Muslem’s have a month of prayer and fasting and you have never written an article that they are wasting time and resources? What is your problem with the God of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob. No one was being forced to pray and if you do not believe in God and you call yourself an atheist why bother if there is no God. You…

    • Ba Pastor you have said it. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, people whom I know nothing of, People whom you want me to know yet they dont want to know me and my people, how arrogant! people who are ancestors of people living in Israel, people who are not my ancestors.
      He is their God. What happened to my God? You killed my God because you killed my religion my culture my language, my values and replaced them with those of foreigners. How disrespectful and insulting of me are you who come with a holier than me attitude to tell me Iam lost.

  15. Dr Ruwe sir
    Like somebody said, a child may be forgiven for fearing darkness but it is unforgivable for adults to fear light. We Zambians are in the latter category. We were warned of the disaster that PF was going to be, and yet because of tribe and other non-scientific affiliations, we voted to retain them. The results are here for all to see; unprecedented fall in the Kwacha value, never-before seen rises in prices of all commodities, job losses, high levels of unemployment and despair, despondency and very high poverty levels capped by uncertainty-the Zambia of today. Thank you Ruwe for making it plain and of course those who are benefiting will vehemently denounce you, but take courage!

  16. What annoys me the most is how Zambians Christians are easily lied to by Politicians, Chiluba did the same, cried and prayed and yet he was busy sleeping with somebody else`s wife- Regina Mwanza by then and this woman became so rich in Ndola, now its Lungu`s turn to capitalise on the Poor Zambian and use God for his own personal survival. Contrymen wake up Lugu and PF do not mean well with all this .

  17. Matt.15.8, ‘These people say they honor me, but their hearts are far away’. I am a believer in the LORD God Almighty. I however, refuse any attempt aimed at using God to restore one’s glory.

  18. How can God help when he is always drunk? Let him be disciplined and work as a responsible leader and god will help.

  19. My comment: If you don’t want to pray please don’t pray. And those who want to pray, let them pray. Me and the majority of fellow Zambians, we will pray anytime, and proudly so!
    And don’t you ever think that we are dull and stup.id, among us are very intelligent and well educated Zambians, who are actually and actively thinking and considering solutions to challenges confronting our beloved country Zambia, including the solutions that have been mentioned. All we need from our Lord in prayer is His divine intervention to guide us onto the right path and to strengthen us so that we don’t throw our hands up in the air as some of our weak brothers are doing by pointing fingers at others for our collective misfortune. Edgar Lungu is not misleading us, rather his actions are in unison with…

  20. Edgar Lungu is not misleading us, rather his actions are in unison with us, we shall need a leader as we cannot all lead. God bless Edgar Chagwa Lungu, for against all odds, he was selected to lead us by the Almighty, the God who could foresee what tests he had set for His annointed son, and Who will lead him beyond 2016. Halleluiya!

  21. When Chiluba declared Zambia to be a christian nation he ushered in a mentality that one can pray away economic difficulties. Economic development happens only by specific performance by the citizens. God loves everyone including rich and poor people. Praying will not and has never lifted one person from economic difficulties. They have to do something. Even villagers have to till the fields in order to have food and crops to harvest. Those who do not till the fields will go hungry no matter how hard they pray. Belief in prayer has culminate into false preachers sleeping with women from their congregations in the hope of curing them or giving them good luck. A stupid person is born every day for these politicians and preacher to exploit.

  22. Donald Trump would relish an opportunity to turn Zambia into a Paradise. What would be a shame is that he would not be for the idea that Zambians move to America while he embarked on the Project. Zambians need to start working hard and not rely on prayers for things GOD has already given human beings solutions. Economists and other experts needs to START to work and those THAT want to pray should continue prayng. Give able people leadership roles. If Lungu wants to pray he should pray alone like anyone else.

  23. This article was written by a victim of paranoia, a UPND fanatic. It is greatly smeared with the hand of satan. Only gullible people can be swayed by this cheap reasoning. May God help us.

  24. Religion is the opium of the masses and ECL has just discovered the power of this adage expounded by Marx and Engels 150 years ago. Iam a person of faith but i refuse to be duped by a secular leader who calls for prayer and reconciliation but has Edith Nawakwi arrested for exercising her right of assembly. What a mockery of the collective intelligence of Zambians.

  25. Fellow Zambians, we need to be alert here. I hope what ECL has started is not about to unleash a reign of religious zealotry and dogmatism. Withour laid back attitude and gullibility, this will be a death bite from which there is no antidote. This day of prayer, this holiday must be scrapped, it is not necessary. We have enough christian holidays already. Lets us all work extremely hard to ensure this regime is voted out of power in the next election.

  26. PF have learned better than anybody the quickest way to subdue and control a population is through their religion.
    Millions of examples from History. The Saudi Arabia royal family still practises these same methods.

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