Lusaka Catholic Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu
File:Lusaka Catholic Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu at a media briefing

I believe we can learn something from the philosophy of science: Knowledge of Facts i.e., what happened? Knowledge of facts is available to everyone who has seen, observed or heard about something. For example: if there is political violence (as a fact) during campaigns, then we expect everyone who has seen or observed such violence (through eye witnessing, social media or television) to have knowledge of such political violence. When television news reports an event, they usually sample (from onlookers) the knowledge of facts. Anyone who witnessed an event can narrate how such an event unfolded.

Knowledge of Reason for the Fact: Why did it happen? i.e., knowledge of reasons for the fact is not available to everyone, even if they might have seen, observed or heard about something happening. For example, if there is political violence (as a fact) during campaigns, then we do not expect everyone who has seen or observed such violence (through eye witnessing, social media or television), to have the knowledge of the reasons for such political violence. A transition from knowledge of the facts to knowledge of the reasons for the fact requires skillful (technical) knowledge that employs discipline-specific explanatory principles. As such, knowledge of the reasons for political violence would require the technical knowledge of the explanatory principles into other fields like social psychology, political science, sociology or in skillful-life experiences and more especially to make a projection into the future. And of course television news would go into the streets for sampling knowledge of facts, but would have to carefully choose expert opinion on knowledge of reason for the fact.

Let me try to make a sampling analysis on the recent Sesheke violence, from which I believe our beloved Catholic Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu had made the wrong projection. It is usually said that the world is three days i.e., yesterday, today and tomorrow. And if you do not know yesterday, you won’t know what day to-day is and certainly tomorrow will take you by surprise. What had really made the Sesheke by-election so violent and somehow involved what some people concluded to be witchcraft! In the first place, each political party has its own strongholds i.e., it’s own territory and Western Province has been the opposition territory since the UNIP era. The problem arose when PF won the Mangango parliamentary seat in the constituency which was deemed to be in UPND territory. The fierce tug of war ensured since UPND could not avoid to lose another parliamentary seat in Western Province and so it had to defend the Sesheke seat at all costs. And on the other hand, since the PF had won the Mangango parliamentary seat they believed that they had penetrated and made an opening in Western Province and were equally determined to win the Sesheke seat at all costs.

We generally regard our Church ministers as the moral conscience of our society and they stand on more superior moral principles than politicians and surely we do not expect them to be emotionally carried away and make careless cadre type political pronouncements. The danger is with such unguarded statements our Church ministers can easily lose credibility.

His Grace Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu has always been at the centre of political controversy and with a leaning to the opposition UPND dating back to 2005 when he took up his position as the Archbishop of Lusaka and thus making him the most senior Catholic clergy in Zambia. We must lean on history to help us to try to peep at the route of this now emerging political clergy-turned politician and prophet in line with Reverend Dr. Nevers Mumba.

He launched his political career through the support of the Church-led Oasis Forum. An illusion is defined as an ‘’erroneous perception of reality’’ and politicians like magicians depend upon it to trick their audiences. But illusions can be fatal. If a person chases a mirage in the desert thinking its water, he would eventually die of thirsty. In the same way, the enthusiasm that was created when the Oasis Forum managed to attract a large group of intellectuals and successfully helped to campaign against President Chiluba’s third term bid. The Forum’s Chairperson was Bishop Paul Mususu and was assisted by firebrand orators, Reverend Japhet Ndhlovu and Father Joe Komakoma.

The first thing was that it triggered into the hearts of the Oasis Forum leadership the ambition for political leadership. The weekly newspaper, Monitor and Digest of 20th July 2007 came out with the headline: ‘’Oasis Forum Political Party Coming.’’ Francis Mangaila reported that some named individuals with political ambitions were secretly pushing for the transformation of the Oasis Forum into a political party that would challenge the existing political parties in 2011. ‘’The individuals with media, law and religious backgrounds are said to be unhappy with the performance of the current crop of politicians in the country, hence the argument that Zambia lacks credible leaders….. But when contacted for a comment, Oasis Forum spokesperson, Musa Mwenye brushed aside assertions that the organization would be turned into a political party.’’

The second was from the capitalist-exploiter’s interest who detected the insurmountable political potential in both the intellectuals who had supported the Oasis Forum as well the Church leadership and the combination of which, if he played his cards correctly he could exploit the situation to his greatest advantage. This development came to light when the then Minister of Justice Honourable George Kunda told Parliament that the donor community had refused to fund the constituent assembly.

However, on the other hand, the Oasis Forum chairperson, Bishop Paul Mususu retorted: ‘’Even those donors that have talked to us in confidence have put it across that if the decision of adopting the Constitution through the constituent assembly comes from Zambians, then they will have no choice but to support it’’ (Zambia Daily Mail 28th January 2006). The question is why where the donors ready to fund through the Oasis Forum rather than the government?

On 23rd November 2005, UPND Kabwata Member of Parliament Honourable Given Lubinda moved a private motion on behalf of the Church-led Oasis forum which sought to suspend Standing Orders No. 39 to enable the House to consider tabling a petition on the establishment of the constituent assembly for the adoption of the Constitution. The MMD sixty-five Members voted against while fifty-two UPND voted for and were dubbed ‘’gallant’’ by the Forum.

The church-led Oasis Forum immediately began to de-campaign against MMD MPs by publishing their names and pictures in The Post and intimidating them that the ‘’people’’ would not vote for them in 2006. And it was at this point that His Grace Archbishop came on the scene. He was Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) President as well as Lusaka Archdiocese Coadjutor and he declared: ‘’…. The involvement of the Catholic Church in the Oasis forum is to ensure that a people-driven Constitution is enacted. (Saturday Post 24th December 2005)

Eventually President Mwanawasa was so irritated by His Grace the Archbishop’s pronouncements that at one time he retorted and The Post of 23rd December 2005 came out with the headline: ‘’Catholic Bishops are just wasting their time.’’ He said they were just wasting their time in working with the opposition to remove him from power because he did not need their support to win.

The tension between the Catholic Church under the leadership of His Grace Archbishop Mpundu and the government grew so tense that the Holy See had to recall the retired Lusaka Archbishop Medardo Mazombwe, and was immediately promoted to the most senior position of a Cardinal in order to overshadow Archbishop Mpundu’s authority and thus Cardinal Mazombwe became the head of the Catholic Church in Zambia. And eventually Archbishop Mpundu made an early retirement before the normal retiring age of 75 years.

And now the question to the current Archbishop Banda which the nation eagerly wants to know is whether the now retired Archbishop Mpundu’s pronouncements still continue to reflect the views of the Catholic Church in Zambia?

And here is what a Jesuit Catholic priest, Father Gerard W. Hughes wrote in his book God of Surprises: ‘’The Roman emperors did not need psychologists and psychiatrists to help them control dissidents. Their pagan subjects were religious people who believed in gods, so the emperors declared themselves to be divine and so hoped to gain a more complete control over the minds and hearts of their subjects. Religious authorities and teachers will always be tempted to control and dominate in the name of God. Christ warned his followers against submitting to this kind of domination: ‘’You must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one Master, and you are all brothers. You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ.’’ (Matt. 23:9-11). We need doctors, religious teachers and specialists in every branch of knowledge, and we should be fools if we did not listen to them, but we must never allow any expert to dominate our lives.

‘’The danger in the institutional element is that we never advance beyond a religious infantilism and this approach instills a childish attitude with little or no encouragement to move beyond it. Much of the present tension within the Catholic Church is tension between those who assume that the institutional is the only essential element in the Church and others who are demanding more of the critical and mystical elements. There is also danger for those in authority in the Churches that they may encourage people to remain in the infantile stage, calling this retarded state ‘being humble, loyal, faithful and observant,’ and threatening with the wrath of God anyone who dares to disagree. There is no more effective way of destroying true faith in God than by misusing words like loyalty, humility, obedience and faithfulness.

‘’The Church must encourage the critical element in its members. If it fails to do so, then the individual will not be able to integrate religious belief with everyday experience or, put in other words, God will be excluded from most of the individual’s life until religion comes to be considered a private but harmless eccentricity of a minority…..So a Church which really trusts God is not afraid, but encourages its members to search and question, guiding them in her wisdom and warning them of routes which she knows from long experience to be cul-de-sacs. Her teachings will never be delivered as the last word on any subject, but rather as signposts, encouraging her members to explore the route further for themselves. Otherwise, undue emphasis on the institutional element today is likely to produce a Church of dwindling numbers, loyal, obedient, docile, uninspired and passive members, God’s frozen people.’’

By Political Analyst

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39 COMMENTS

    • The background picture and the length of article makes it impossible to start reading. The article looks like those written by HH and given to Sishuwa wa Chisushi to publish.

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    • It’s interesting how people like writing half truths or distorted facts in an attempt to discredit perceived foes.
      Today Telesphore Mpundu is UPND? What a joke. Others may be ignorant, but some of us remember how this same bishop was labelled PF by thieving RB because he condemned MMD violence. We remember they said he supported Sata bcause he was Bemba.
      Now here we have this “analyst” claiming the good man has supported UPND since 2006.
      When the records are written, this man, Telesphore Mpundu, will be found on the right side of history. He has always stood on the right side. On the people’s side. He has not been driven by greed, or lust for power…unlike Frank Bwalya.

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    • Journey man I totally agree with you. Bishop Telesphore Mpundu is a noble man who will leave a legacy of standing for what is right and condemning what is wrong regardless of the perpetrators. And his comments on 2021 elections are actually true. This wicked government wants to hold onto power at all costs, even if it means eliminating their political opponents. They don’t want to face the terrible wrongs they have committed in the short period they have been in power

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    • @JourneyMan maybe Mpundu is a Job seeker who has not been given a job yet by any political party. That is why he keeps flip flopping.

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    • Journeyman have you got evidence that Rupiah is a thief? Secondly Mpundu could be mistaken for PF because his sister was Mr Sata’s second wife. In spite of knowing his marital status the man was accorded full Catholic ” privileges “. Currently his (bishop )association and inclination towards HH makes it look like he’s Upnd.

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    • Ndanje….my friend evidence against RB is in the public domain. If we lived in a country that was governed by the rule of law, he would be behind bars. Period. The only reason he walked Scott free is because someone needed political and financial help to win the election in 2015 and 2016. We all know the story. You may try to deny it, but it’s fact.
      Secondly, just because the man criticizes your party doesn’t mean he supports your opponents. That’s where you guys miss it and end up never learning. You want bootlickers who always sing your praises.

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    • continued…This is why you never learn and become better leaders.
      Learn to take criticism and do better. But for you, anyone who opposes your views or criticizes our actions is UPND. Even the international community is UPND.
      You want hungry, money loving, dishonest clergy like Danny Pule, whose God is money and they will do anything for money.
      Danny Pule and His friends called themselves “Christians for Lungu”. Did you condemn them? Telesphore Mpundu has not attached himself to anyone, and yet you want to condemn him. Guys have some decency

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    • Journeyman, RB was not my favorite president but I was never take in by stories fabricated by the Post. The entire episode up to Satas victory was orchestrated by the Post who wanted Magande to succeed Levy.

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    • Ndanje…regarding Mr. Sata, you will do well to just keep quiet, rather than trying to descredit him with distorted facts and false assertions…..(You clearly knew nothing about him)….

      Just because you are on the right side of power, don’t be mistaken that you are on the right side. If you are driven by a love of wealth and privilege then you and me have nothing to say to each other. But if you love Zambia and have regard for right and wrong then I urge you to put the nation ahead of political expedience.

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    • Iwe ka Journey Man, come down here to get facts on the ground. Otherwise, just continue with your journey around the world and stop wasting our time with cheap politics.

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    • Nipnak…I don’t usually respond to people like you, but I will make just this exception….And I have to say is this: If someone reads your post above(and probably you posts in the past), and compared them with mine, they wouldn’t need to be Albert Einstein to figure out who is cheap and who is politicking.

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    • @jouneyman. People who continue calling RB a thief are fake. I followed the procedings verbatim. Nchito talked to present any evidence to allow a judge to jail RB, let alone out him on his defence. I hear Upnd they will try RB again. You are free to do so.

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    • T. Mpundu supported SATA and not LUNGU. This T. MPUNDU was PF during SATA days and defected to UPND after refusing to accept LUNGU was PF leader and Zambia Presido

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    • Bishop Mpundu has never been on PF’s side, he has always associated PF with Sata. The Cobra had an affair with Tele’s sister and he was not too happy about it. You can ask people around him, Tele has never uttered anything good about King Cobra. Whoever and whatever is associated with Sata becomes his enemy. He will even side with the devil just to see the demise of the name ‘Sata and PF’. He does not forgive easily and that is just his nature, he has not even forgiven his sister up to now for having a child out of wedlock.

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    • Times are really tough….just when did archibishops become Politicians….looks like offerings is not working…..This Mpundu moron really looks evil

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    • @Journeyman – your narration is fine but all we don’t agree with is this Bishop Emeritus Mpundu prophesying CHAOS IN ZAMBIA. THAT IS A DECLARATION OF WAR or as the Red Indians would put it “IT’S A WAR CRY”.
      Lenshina tried it, Mushala tried it BUT ALL TO NO AVAIL BECAUSE ZAMBIANS ARE PEACEFUL BY NATURE.
      IT TAKES YEARS TO BUILD GOOD REPUTATION but ONLY A SPLIT SECOND TO DESTROY THE SAME REPUTATION.
      That is what Ba ShiMpundu has done. CHAHENIPA CHOMENE.

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  1. Please understand that retired Archbishop Mpundu ,although still a dignitary in the Roman Catholic Church, no longer holds a leadership role in the Church.It is very untrue to state that Cardinal Mazombwe was appointed such, so as to overshadow Mpundu, as if Mazombwe otherwise did not deserve it.Catholic bishops and archbishops do not ,as individuals, wield authority over fellow bishops. Mpundu, as any other Zambian has his rights as a citizen to comment on political affairs of this country reflecting on his personal experience.He now no longer needs his position as Archbishop of Lusaka to do this. As he himself put it in the words of French General Charles de Gualle “politics is too important to leave to politicians alone”.With the gross abuse of political power we are witnessing…

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  2. …in Zambia today,we need more of people like Mpundu and not fewer. I am however certain that the Archbishop Emeritus will not be intimidated by the wild criticism from known paid agents of evil.

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  3. Amen! Our great nation still has men real men to analyse issues and make you understand the root cause of where, why and how? God has indeed preserved 7000 of his own true prophets, they are not all killed. This article is one of the few articles that explicitly advances compelling points of our situation. The problem we have in Zambia is mediocrity. The levels of understanding are too low. The reading culture to understand things is desperately and dangerously low. This is exemplified by some of the confessions on this blog. They don’t understand it and they cannot read this article. If this article is said to be too long, imagine a mere 250 page knowledge book? People would rather rush for leaked exam paper than read and understand basic knowledge!! There you have it.!

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  4. Literally PF has burnt all the bridges they used to get into power.They have forgotten the role this church played to bring them into power,they have also forgotten that the founder of PF Sata was a staunch catholic,they are now defecating all over the church for political expediency.Do they even realise how many of their supporters are catholic?Keeping dullards will sink Lungu there is absolutely no strategy they are employing…it is sebana wikute as well anything goes..

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    • Does it mean being catholic one has to follow blindly whatever the priest says? If you think so then you are simply saying we Catholics are simple minds who will follow even into danger as long as the priest tells us so. Gone are the days when a priest slept with a parishioners wife the matter would be settled amicably without legal action, gone are the days when priests would direct us on how to vote. Don’t think we don’t discuss Bishop Mpundus actions. Remember the Catholics protested against him and in the same week he announced his early retirement. Catholics are not just a bunch of people without private lives. We all have our interests other than church work.

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  5. Trespho Mpundus of Zambia like any Zambian are free, free to hold opinions of their own, But they must not use the church to hoodwink those that hold genuine faith in their organization. Mr Trespho Mpundu must come out in the open and join politics. In Zambia whether you are a soldier, farmer, teacher pastor, prophet, bishop, lawyer, Engineer, Kapenta etc.etc. you have a right to join politics, just come out in the open. We know that certain organizations have kept secrets of child molesting, fathering children and various sexual abuses but these have come out over the years. Those in churches that are fond of hypotnising their members must understand that they will not do that in politics. The so called church Mother Bodies in Zambia must not abuse their privilege of being called to…

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  6. …to be part of the national dialogue. Their core business is to preach the word of God. If they feel their calling has changed they are free to join the footsteps of the like of Pastor Nevers Mumba and Father Frank Bwalya.

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  7. 1.9 Journeyman I don’t belong to any power block. Maybe you do or you don’t belong to one, but certainly not me. And don’t shut me down on whoever I want to discuss. Your uncle I presume so, was a public figure and as such we know something about him. You called RB a thief, do you know him that much? Problem with people like you is you don’t want others to express their opinion. Just defend your bishop relative, it’s your right.

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    • Ndanje…You are free to express your opinion. I am in no way trying to stop you. All am saying is let’s be objective and truthful.
      No harm meant.

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  8. What! “And now the question to the current Archbishop Banda which the nation eagerly wants to know is whether the now retired Archbishop Mpundu’s pronouncements still continue to reflect the views of the Catholic Church in Zambia?” The statement is misleading. retired is retired. Why would the retired substitute the sitting clergy? What is the benefit for society? The retired clergy are free to express their own personal feelings but that does not transform them into officeholders.

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  9. Retired but not tired is better than unretired but tired. Where is the Catholic church leadership in all this fassad?

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  10. What got into Mpundu to spew those invectives in the Lenten Period?

    Only that which got into Judas.

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  11. An analyst or indeed any writer worth their salt will always identify themselves. Why hide your name and or picture if what you have written has any substance other than a few quotes from old newspapers? Don’t take Zambians for granted with such crap. Anyway that’s the beauty of freedom of speech and expression any crap write up can be published. LACK OF KNOWLEDGE AND KNOWLEDGE OF NO FACTS

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    • Exactly my thoughts. We should know who is for many reasons such as asking where we can buy the books he’s referring to.

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  12. Telegram has issues with the way he wants to propagate confusion in the country.He is not a good man.He should just keep quiet.We have had enough of his offside outbursts.He has not shown us the way but predicts anxiety and psyches people into rebellion.Heir fore telling his desired picture of Zambia in 2021.He is not cautioning the nation but inadvertently try to prepare the minds of people to indulge carnage.We have learnt very serious lessons from Rwanda and we will not allow any one desiring to see people get killed in order to ascend to power.Telesphore must respect himself.Him he has no children,we have families to take of.If he is too bored and wants to utter things,he is using a wrong forum.We want peace and let us predict good things about Zambia.The demons are busy right now…

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  13. The former Bishop Mpundu is simply a disgrace, how can he be predicting violence and chaos in a country like Zambia simply because his master, the idol god HH, is not liked and accepted by the majority Zambians?

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  14. First and foremost, nobody is born a Bishop or Political Scientist. We are trained or shaped to be what we are or what we want to be by the environment or factors within the environment. In other words we react to the environment. So the Arch Bishop and the Political Scientist are products of their own training and environment. What for me is the most important factor is that the Bishop and the Scientist do not necessarily have to see eye to eye on each issues. We must always leave room to be each other’s irritant. We must agree to disagree and leave happily ever after it we fail to stay the other person to our side of the fence. If we have 15 million points of view on a national issue, that for me is healthy rather than being led over the precipice by one dorminant view point. That is…

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