Outspoken young politician Prince Ndoyi has accused the leaders of the three Church Mother Bodies (CMBs) of driving an opposition agenda after their action to go ahead with a consultative meeting snubbed by ZCID last week.
Ndoyi said the consultative meeting held by the CMBs was not a dialogue meeting with political party presidents but that it was a meeting with UPND president Hakainde Hichilema and his surrogates in the 10 alliance partners under the disguise of dialogue.
The former ZANASU vice president who is now MMD youth, has since described the bishops’ action as “promoting polarisation and partisan politics” which he said is effectively poisoning the political environment and creating confusion instead of harmony.
“Thursday’s events where the three Church Mother Bodies and ZCID gave conflicting statements is untimely seeing that we are in the festive season and unfortunate. Suffice to say no one single member of the joint secretariat had ‘VETO POWER’ to bulldoze their way against the collective, and that’s what we have been subjected to, a dialogue meeting between the Church and UPND.
“To say this was strange could probably be an understatement, because the church is generally believed to be sacred spaces, free from any whiff of partisan politics. This action in actual fact is promoting polarisation and partisan politics — thus effectively, further poisoning the political environment,” he said.
Ndoyi explained that the true conversation the country should be having about dialogue should not emanate from partisan trenches.
He said the church leaders should rise above board and ensure that they are not seen to be taking sides as they perform their role of chairmanship in the dialogue process.
He said by going ahead with the meeting the CMB leaders had potentially dragged the name of the honorable Church into narrow partisan politics.
“The danger of their action to go ahead with today’s meeting without PF, MMD, FDD among others ZCID members is that it has the potential to drag the honorable sacred Church into narrow partisan trenches.
He said the Church leaders had shot themselves in the foot thereby putting themselves in the firing range and their action will soon attract criticisms from stakeholders.
“Sometimes criticism aimed at the church is unfair and unwarranted. But other times they absolutely deserve the criticism that comes their way. And, of course, the church will inevitably run into criticism for shooting themselves in the foot,” he said.
He urged the CMB leaders to emulate the Church leaders of the 1990s and ensure that they provide not only leadership but direction to the nation.
He said the CMBs should not be a mouth piece for any political party but a mouth piece for Zambians be it in opposition or ruling as speaking for a political party takes away their sacred role of being the salt of the nation.
“When the church becomes a mouthpiece for a political party, it ceases to be the church. Their job is to share the Gospel, and offer counsel and not to change the government.
“The church needs leaders who are truly free, not beholden to a party platform or partisan agenda. In other words: we need to be free from partisanship in order to be faithfully political.
“Finally, this is a clarion call on the various church leaders not to throw this word of caution to the wind and explicitly appear to endorse a partisan agenda in view of the ongoing dialogue process, for them to be trusted and respected as they have always been. Because, Zambia today desperately needs a consistent christian ethic on this national political dialogue process to help with reforms and help reconcile the nation with itself ahead of 2021 and into the future,” he said.
The dialogue process seems to have hit a snug as there appears to be a stand off between the CMBs leaders and ZCID.
On Thursday ZCID wrote to the media postponing the consultative meeting with presidents of political parties but hours later another communique this time from the CMB leaders hit the air waves confirming the meeting.
On Friday UPND president Hakainde Hichilema was among political party leaders who attended the consultative meeting which was snubbed by President Lungu and members of ZCID.