National Guidance and Religious Affairs Permanent Secretary, Howard Sikwela has called upon the clergy to remain non-partisan as they host congregants in their churches who are voters and members of political parties.
Reverend Sikwela said political campaigns had started, and it was imperative for the clergy to guide their members well by preaching peace, as their congregants had varying political interests.
ZANIS reports that Reverend Sikwela said this in Livingstone today in a speech read for him by Martha Sitali, Assistant Director – Religious Affairs in the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs, at the National Prayer event organized by the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia and Independent Churches of Zambia.
“On 12th August the nation goes to the polls. It is not a time to harm one another but a time to engage in meaningful discourse that will spur development and sustain the peace the nation has enjoyed since independence,” he said.
The National Prayer event is taking place countrywide with a focus on blessing the political campaign landscape, praying for all candidates and issue based campaigns.
And Rev Sikwela appealed to the church to preach against tribalism and hate speech as the people wanted to hear messages of love and hope for the nation.
“As we pray for all candidates today, let us remain steadfast in counselling politicians on violence, hate speech and tribal remarks. We want to see peaceful campaigns across the country,” he said.
He further urged the clergy to speak to youths inside and outside the church to avoid being used as tools of violence in the run up to the general election.
Rev Sikwela said this was because the future belonged to them and their participation in contemporary politics was an inspiration of how great the future would be.
Speaking earlier, Acting Livingstone District Commissioner Harriet Kawina commended the clergy for their initiative to pray for unity and peace as the country headed to the polls.
Ms Kawina appealed to all stakeholders regardless of their various political affiliations to unite ahead of the general election.
“We really need to pray for us to remain as one people and to be a united strong nation,” she said.
Ms Kawina urged leaders to lead by example by guiding youths on the right path and condemning violence and divisions in the nation.
Meanwhile, Livingstone Gospel Ministers Fellowship Chairperson, Charles Musonda said the clergy in Livingstone was praying for peace before, during and after the August 12, 2021 General Election.
Pastor Musonda said God had great things in store for mother Zambia and it was up to the people to pray and make their petitions known to God for Him to answer their prayers.