THE Church must at all times resist the temptation of aligning itself to any political party in the country because that has the potential to create divisions in the country based on religion, the Patriotic Front (PF) has said.
PF elections chairperson Jean Kapata said while it was within the constitutional right of citizens to associate themselves with any political organization of their choice, it was religiously wrong for men of the collar to take political sides.
Reacting to the luncheon United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema held for selected church leaders at his residence in New Kasama on Thursday, Ms Kapata said it was religiously incorrect for the church to exhibit political alignment especially in an election year.
Ms Kapata said it was shocking that some church leaders had accepted an invitation to have lunch with Mr Hichilema when the country had a lot of opposition political party leaders who equally needed their spiritual counsel.
She said the church must endeavour to remain impartial when advising politicians and that if there was need to pray for politicians, the clergy must never be seen to select which political leaders deserved their religious counsel.
Ms Kapata however said the ruling party was happy with the three Church mother bodies, the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC), the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (ZEC) for schooling political parties on the need to end political violence.
She said the PF had remained resolute on its campaign against violence and that was why President Edgar Lungu had shown the way by decreeing that those engaged in violence would be expelled from the ruling party apart from facing the wrath of the law.
“We know that there is always a danger that some church leaders can easily abandon their religious calling and align themselves to some political parties. But our plea is that church leaders must avoid falling into the temptation of openly aligning themselves to political parties.
‘‘It is our fervent hope that church leaders will not be politically compromised during this election year because their flock belongs to different political parties. We are however shocked that some church leaders accepted to have lunch with one opposition political party leader,” Ms Kapata said.
And Ms Kapata said President Lungu had remained the most favourite in the August general elections because the PF through the Head of State had delivered to the disappointment of the opposition.
She said as the PF elections chairperson, she was determined to make sure the PF was retained into power and that she would never disappoint the party and the Head of State.