LUSAKA clergyman Bishop Simon Chihana says Zambia Revenue Authority’s declaration that it will be auditing churches in Zambia cannot go without comment.
Bishop Chihana, the International Fellowship for Christian Churches (IFCC) president, noted that the declaration had come at such a time when poverty was high in the nation and with a very high level of unemployment.
“The current position taken by the Zambia Revenue Authority, ZRA, cannot go without comment and taking serious analysis because it borders on a body that all of us as Zambians have great attachment to and this is the Church. The Zambia Revenue Authority has declared that they shall be auditing the churches in Zambia for whatever reasons, and it has come at such a time that poverty is high in the nation and with a very high level of unemployment among our people,” Bishop Chihana said.
He said wisdom is paramount in running national issues and consideration for the plight of the poor is a mark of great leadership.
The clergyman noted that the Church in Zambia had been a great partner in the alleviation of poverty of all the governments that have ruled the country.
“The Church has from time immemorial helped governments in bringing quality education to every one of us, quality medical care through mission hospitals and clinics. The Church is not a social club, but an organism through which God works to minister to the needs of humanity both spiritually, physically, and socially,” he said. “The Church is the salt to us all, through the preaching and teaching of the Word of God society is sustained in many ways, we are encouraged to love each other, forgive one another, help one another in time of need. The Church is always there to play as the mediator in times of conflict, to broker peace and unity.”
Bishop Chihana reminded ZRA that a lot of the social ills in society cannot be handled by the government of the day alone.
“But the Church is working day and night doing the job of reconciling families, helping the rejected, run away husbands and wives to resolve, run away children and parents to come together,” he said.
He said there were so many social ills out there that the Church is ever attending to such as drug abuse, drunkards, illicit sex and other crimes.
Bishop Chihana said it was unwise to punish a horse “that you ride on when all it requires is a little support from the rider to have food and to wash when it is dirt and a little water when it is thirsty”.
He added that all the services that the Church offered to humanity were free and supported by the generosity of the congregation and well-wishers.
“With all sanity of the mind, how do you as government under Zambia Revenue Authority audit a body that totally depends on free will offerings from the generous people. The next government must work in partnership with the Church and support them in all their efforts in making sure that they give our children quality education and provide quality health care to our people in the communities, strengthen their evangelistic thrust in the communities,” Bishop Chihana said.
He however, admitted that there were crooked church leaders.
“Thus it is the work of the investigators and the police to arrest such culprits that have taken advantage of the holy sacred work and messed it up with their dirty hands emanating from their evil hearts,” he said.
Bishop Chihana advised that such delinquency minded people must also be removed from the pulpit work.