Catholic Bishops insist that construction of a shopping mall at St Mary’s High School will go ahead

St Mary's High School in Lusaka
St Mary's High School in Lusaka
St Mary's High School in Lusaka
St Mary’s High School in Lusaka

The Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops has insisted that it will proceed with its plans of constructing a modern shopping mall at St Mary’s High School in Lusaka.

This is despite growing pressure from parents and guardians of pupils studying at the school who want the project to be halted.

The parents and guardians say the Shopping Mall which will be built on the current school sports field, close to the classroom, will disrupt classes.

An online petition has since gathered pace and over 500 parents have since signed the petition demanding that the project be stopped.

The petitioners say, doing this will deprive the girls of sports facilities, is against the school motto of “Moral Excellence” and undoubtedly contribute to moral degradation, low academic performance of the girl child.

The parents are now offering to work in conjunction with the school to improve the existing sports and recreational facilities not only to promote healthy and active living for the pupils but also for the youths in this community.

But Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops Fr Cleophas Lungu Secretary General said the project shall go ahead.

“On behalf of the (ZCCB), we hereby wish to make some clarifications on a few concerns raised by some parents regarding the proposed construction of the Shopping Mall near St. Mary’s Secondary School in Woodlands – Lusaka; concerns that are unfortunately and maliciously being transmitted especially on social media.”

“Firstly, we wish to categorically state that the land in question belongs to the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) while St. Mary’s Secondary School belongs to the Archdiocese of Lusaka and is standing on the land belonging to the Archdiocese of Lusaka which borders with the plot belonging to ZCCB. After a due process of consultation and reflection, the Conference has decided to lease its piece of land to a developer in view of realizing its potential for investment as this particular land has remained undeveloped for time immemorial,” Fr Lungu said.

He said, “Therefore, it is not true that the Shopping Mall shall be built on St. Mary’s Secondary School grounds/ land but on the Bishops’ Conference land which borders with the plot belonging to the Archdiocese of Lusaka where St. Mary’s School is situated.”

“Secondly, the Conference is aware that the developer of the said land shall put in place mitigation measures that will address the possible impact of the project with regard to the welfare of both the pupils and St. Mary’s Secondary School itself. For instance, the school will be completely fenced off from the mall. Further, the developer has committed to relocate sporting facilities which will easily be accessible to both St Mary’s Secondary School and St Dominic’s Major Seminary.”

Fr Lungu stressed that these facilities will not be part of the Shopping Mall adding that it is not true that the proposed development will suppress or deprive the sporting activities from the school.

“Quite to the contrary, the Developer will put up an upgraded sports field and a modern swimming pool to be used by the School and the Seminary. Thirdly, we wish to underline the fact that the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Church in general will not divert from its mission of complementing the efforts of government by offering quality education especially to a girl child,” he said.

He continued, “The Church will always endeavour to contribute towards national development through its social ministry which includes running mission schools. The benefits of those who have gone through these schools are visibly there for all to see. However, for the Church to continue rendering quality pastoral and social services not only in education but also in the health sector as well as through programs aimed at promoting integral development, it will need a lot of resources.”

Fr Lungu said gone are the days when the Church entirely depended on donor support from our parent Churches in Europe.

“Going forward, the Bishops’ Conference is resolved to embark on strategic ways of mobilizing resources that will enable the Catholic Church to fulfill its overall mission of integral evangelization. Lastly, we strongly believe that this is a good project that will benefit not only ZCCB but also the school (in terms social corporate responsibility) and the local community.”

He said after all, a strategic range of essential goods and quality services will be within their reach.

“Not only that, it is foreseen that about 250 permanent jobs will be created apart from numerous opportunities for many Zambians to do business in terms of being suppliers. We therefore hope that the faithful (especially Catholics) and other people of good will, shall not only understand but remain patriotic as well as support the Bishops’ Conference in its bid to realize the vision of the African Synod, that is, to build a Church that is self-propagating, self-ministering and self-sustaining.”

The school has been existence since 1939 has contributed to high quality education of girls in Zambia.


  1. This is amazing! Isn’t Woodlands Pick N’ Pay sufficient for this area? What is motivating the Fathers, Mothers, Brothers and Sisters at this school? Is money they will get from the rentals?

    • I don’t understand the thinking of the parents. Who says Shopping Malls are immoral? So going to buy things from Game or whatever shop is immoral. Let them advance another reason. Besides..the land in question does not even belong to the school. They should stop poking their noses into the issue and leave the developers alone.

    • To have or not to have. That’s the dilemma in which many churches find themselves. It is hard to resist the pomp and glory of this world, and yet all that matters is a roof over the head. Moses built a tabernacle in the desert and that was sufficient for the children of Israel. Christ taught the people in the valleys and on the mountains.

    • This Lungu name is a disaster. So this Father Cleophas Lungu, just like Chagwa, does not care what stakeholders want and say. This new shopping mall will be 100m from the Woodlands one, 300m from the Kabulonga one and 1.1km from Crossroads. There’s no deficiency of malls in the area and the Catholic Church is not that desperate for money. I would suggest that these men of Gold should be reported to Rome to their superiors to know the level of greed in them. These churches run by Bemba and Nyanja thieves are a disaster.

    • I don’t agree with parents. At my primary and secondary school, cows and goats used to grazy by windows. And they are so noisy. At grade 7 final exam, a rooster mukolwe kept cooo-king, the headmaster told us to leave exam classroom to chess it at he slaughtered it for invigilators. What distraction can mall cause seriously.
      Here we are in America, and one of my friends is a priest.

    • There are actually three institutions at the location using the sports facilities at the locations i.e. St. Mary’s Secondary School, Mary Queen of Peace and St. Dominics Major Seminary. There are already five malls within a radius of 1km (Woodlands, Anglican, Cross Road, Tukunka/Kabulonga and Kwacha Pension). Zambia needs quality schools and colleges and not shopping malls. So what do the Bishops want to do with the money they raise from the rentals? Everyone has become greedy including abapatili.

    • Am Catholic, but I can tell you the Zambian Bishop is a lover of money with the exception of late Dennis de jong

  2. This is happening across churches. Churches now are hawking Gods Real Estate, usually Land and Church property built on Land left in wills. Churches are suffering from dwindling congregations and need to raise money(Mammon)! Recently, The Watchtowers sold all their Real Estate even properties of historical importance. In UK much talked about is St Saviours in Knightsbrdge. The church leased their CHURCH to Developers Rigby&Rigby who have developed the Church into a Luxury Home!! Look at the pictures in this DailyMail UK article…..shocking!!MAMMOM lives!

  3. Let the project go ahead as jobs will be created and more importantly concerns have been addressed by our beloved Bishops otherwise the land will be invaded by both PF and UPND cadres…

  4. Let the project go ahead but it should not be of low standard like woodlands shopping mall (like a maize shade). Two malls in each others vicinity will even bring rentals down for local businesses.

  5. I am not surprised..any black person who is a catholic doesnt know their history…LCC has sold off basketball courts, now these are doing likewise who can blame them…its no surprise that we sent 7 atheletes to the last olympics as no investment in grassroots.

  6. These are the signs that the Church is looking at how to sustain itself at the expense of the school community. It is only a matter of time before the Bishops will come up with a suggestion that St. Dominic’s Major Seminary be relocated to Kafue and the current premises be converted to a Hotel. Watch this space…

  7. This project will require a long legal process. First, it has to obtain a consent for change of land use. Secondly, the project will have to carry out an EIA. Both the two processes are subjected to public consultations. All these parents can object to the project at this stage. The problem in Zambia now is the rush to social media whenever we are agrieved. I believe we should learn to wait for those we have put in the lead, be it politicians or other leaders.

  8. You can’t do anything in Zambia without some one opposing. You build a Church the worshippers are making noise its too close to our homes.

  9. This is pure madness! How can you have a mall and school children together? Its like having a bar and a school side by side. These people are mad. Please use your brains.

  10. Thank you Father, the people opposed to the idea dont even exercise, they dont value sport. It is traditional in many societies to oppose development. This is timely, given the huge financial challenges facing the church, the decision is strategic and must be commended.

  11. No one except government has more schools or health centres than the catholics, love them or hate them. Running those institutions costs. Let them invest.

  12. Problem we have in Zambia is lack of community and stakeholders consultations. The church should know better. Projects like this should not only pass approval in a meeting room with only few fat many sipping coffee and scratching each other’s back. The school is for the community, the proposed shopping centre is also for the benefit of the community, so why leave them out of the consultative process? Despite the benefits the Catholic bishops think, do the community really think it that way? Their grievances are genuine and should not only be dismissed by the ‘know-it-all’ attitude of the bishop.

  13. Churches in Zambian must learn to be self reliant instead of depending on offerings from poor congregants. Just go ahead do that business. After all, the money raised will still remain in the church.

  14. I understand the church needs money but honestly is this really their only means of raising money? Why not make an ultra modern sports facility where the smaller schools can then rent for their sporting activities. That way the girls will only be exposed to other children and not child defilers who will prowl on them. It’s shameful that a country that doesn’t have spending money should ha ‘s million malls in the face of these kids. Think about the girl child people. Job creation my foot.

  15. Why not build a modern college or polytechnic that will charge commercial rates on the site? This will contribute to educatio
    n and still raise money for the Bishops, making the St Marys area an Academic Centre.
    We need to free ourselves of this ever increasing shopping mall craze that only fuels unproductive consumption. We all know that every shopping mall has pubs and that’s not good next to a girls school.
    In any case there are already 4 shopping malls within the same area: Woodlands, Crossroads, Choopies and Kabulonga (under construction)

  16. Let ZCCB do what it wants with its land. Moreover, it’s not for the school and it’s not your land but for the church.

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