By Rev. Kapya Kaoma
The serious observance the National day of Prayer, Fasting and Reconciliation illustrates the extreme religiosity of millions of Zambians. Politicians will always jump on it to win votes as did pastor Nevers Mumba, when he called on us to pray ourselves out of the current national crisis. Yet this predicament is caused by selfish politicians, among them, those who dine with Pastor Mumba and shout ‘Amen’ the loudest.
Pastor Mumba wants us to believe that the “crisis has not chosen which Zambians to target,” it has. The effects of the drought are not equally felt—like Lazarus in the Bible, politicians and the rich throw away food while we envy the crumbs from their tables.
The PF wants us to blame the drought for the current famine and other economic challenges—yet the egotistical PF administration is responsible. The drought was projected in 2017, and we had millions of metric tons of maize the same year. Rather than saving, the PF government exported maize—suggesting the deficiency of leadership in the Lungu administration.
God has never abandoned us, but politicians. Year after year, we pray. We fast and pray for more money in our pockets. Our prayers are constantly answered; God has repeatedly exposed the thieves, who call themselves honorable, but in truth, they are dishonorable politicians. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy,” Jesus said (John 10:10). Who does not know that the dishonorable MPs, Ministers and Lungu’s grand goal is to steal, destroy and kill?
So is the National Day of Prayer a way of pacifying masses? While PF cadre MPs and ministers voluntarily fast for 3 hours, we are forced to fast daily. Our prayer is, “give us this day our daily bread,” but bread is now a luxury. “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people,” Karl Marx argued. But that is not the religion of Jesus. Our suffering is caused by heartless and dishonorable politicians. They call on us to pray and fast, but they never fast from corruption, injustice and violence. So how can you expect us the robbed to reconcile with these seasoned honorable robbers? To a religious fanatic, with God everything is possible. To the God of the oppressed, the robber must be fought, defeated and imprisoned.
It is said, “When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.” Although the exact source of this critique of colonial Christianity’s role in the exploitation of Africans is debatable, it fits the PF call for prayers while stealing from the masses. Next time we pray, let us open our eyes—their protruding bellies tell it all. Thieves, thieves, thieves!
Reverend Godfridah Sumaili knows better. Ancient Israel called itself God’s nation. And like our dishonorable politicians, its leaders called on masses to fast and pray, but oppressed workers, betrayed justice, and killed those who opposed their evil schemes. Isaiah’s words speak for themselves:
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter;
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
These words are an indictment of the PF administration, its enabling pastors and the so called Christians for Lungu. How can we pray while carrying guns and pangas? Surely, we cannot cry of prayer, fasting and reconciliation when PF cadres’ prayers are insults and lawlessness. Is this not a mockery to God? Well, we are a Christian nation led by thieves.
l prayed that God raises up another Moses to deliver us from this malicious “Christian nation” singing regime. I prayed that God sees the tears of mothers whose children die like flies, while politicians parade before president Lungu as if before God. Like a triplet mother’s womb, so are their tummies. One would think they would give birth to justice, only to discover they give birth to more and more corruption.
Today, I pray. God of justice, see that dying baby–to call him or her is to curse our humanity. The exposed ribs and protruding eyes speak to the evilness of our politicians. Like your Son on the cross, it cries out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” With this cry, it curses our Christian nation.
I pray that every thief in power pays the ultimate price–in this life or in the life to come. Merciful Lord, strengthen our prophets to stand up for the oppressed; the poor to demand what is rightly ours, and open our eyes to see the injustice of corruption, injustice and violence. Wipe our tears—for us the poor, your Son died to set free. Amen.