By Kapya Kaoma.
Since President F.T.J. Chiluba introduced the culture of brown envelopes to “Bikini Bottom’ pastors, I stopped taking some religious leaders seriously. So when I read about over 700 pastors on the Copperbelt selling their unconscionable souls to the God fearing President Edgar Lungu, it was like watching SpongeBob selling Bibles at Krusty Krabs in Bikini Bottom. And who could miss it? “A God fearing,” and the only man who would secure “the nation’s Christian Nation heritage and a continued covenant with God,” is President Lungu. One would expect these words to come from Patrick and not even SpongeBob. Shockingly, the honorable Patriotic Front Member of the Central Committee, the Rev. Godfridah Sumaili uttered these meaningless words at the campaign event on the Copperbelt. They are just what they are, simply meaningless.
Whereas the Rev. Sumaili’s role is to gunner religious leader’s support for President Lungu, the PF administration has always appealed to Churches to be apolitical. If 700 pastors spoke in favor of HH, PF cadres and Madam Sumaili would be condemning their actions. But since these pastors are supporting the Big man, Madam Sumaili is happy with it. The PF should not have it both ways–the ECZ should not allow the PF to politicize certain institutions just because it is in power, while limiting other parties. The playing field must be fair. Neither should Madam Sumaili use Churches for political gains, while stopping other church leaders from doing the same. She is a politician and must campaign as a politician as opposed to a pastor. The clerical attire should not make her immune from political attacks–she is not different from GBM, Kambwili or Lungu.
Madam Sumaili claimed that President Lungu is God fearing. Yet, the Lungu administration has been characterized with extreme corruption, violence and insults. From the K2.2 billion recently reported as missing by the Financial Intelligence Report to houses without owners to Fire Engines to expired drugs, the Lungu administration is rotten with mismanagement and corruption–something that has led Zambia to being blacklisted by donors. Unless she is deaf, she hears the insults that her fellow cadres have employed to advance the Lungu agenda. She wouldn’t turn a blind eye to innocent lives that have been destroyed amidst her shouts of “let us pray” and “amen”. Neither would putting on the clerical collar absolve her of the blood on the PF hands–she is just as guilty as Mwila, GMB and Kambwili. If she was principled, she would have left this administration long ago. She is not campaigning for Lungu because he fears God, but rather to get her job back. If anything, she acts as the false prophet to Old Testament Kings–telling the King what he wants to hear.
The claim to “the Christian heritage” (whatever it means) is just a lie she wants to employ to blind people from holding the Regime accountable. I am a Christian but I won’t subscribe to the PF Christian heritage of thieves. A Christian heritage that permits thugs to gallivant the streets with pride, while mothers give birth on the floors, kids die from curable diseases, degree holders are unemployed, and families cannot afford painkillers. Praise be to Rev. Sumaili’s Christian heritage! We reward politicians and cadres with oversized cars, big salaries, and unwarranted allowances, but masses cannot even afford a meal! Hail to Rev. Sumaili’s Christian heritage! Only politicians and cadres count! The rest of us live as beggars. A taste of hell in Rev. Sumaili’s Christian nation you find! Steal a packet of chocolate in Shoprite, in jail you rot for years. Steal millions, kiss the God fearing president’s boots! You are free. Alleluia! A just Zambia built on equality or love-justice is the heritage we need.
The PF wants to advance the fib of the covenant with God. But central to the Biblical Covenant is love-justice; love for God and for the neighbor. Yahweh demands that we look out for each other’s interests–we are each other’s keepers. The violence and the lawlessness that characterize the PF campaign are indictments of Lungu’s and Madam Sumaili’s failure to respect the dignity of fellow human beings. As a religious leader, Madam Sumaili must be ashamed to even open her mouth–for five years she failed to speak truth to power. She watched corruption explode while cadres amassed millions. She never spoke out when opposition leaders were persecuted. When will she tell GBM, Kambwili, and Mwila to learn a little decency? When will she tell PF cadres to stop brutalizing UPND cadres? The truth is, she won’t! She is a politician bluffing to those Bikini Bottom pastors, who like Patrick are foolish enough to believe Spongebob Squarepants has the mental acuity to operate the boat. Sadly, there are enough votes to elect such a gruesome, Machiavellian, soulless and visionless leader–the end is predictable–a very big disaster awaits us; more and more money in their pockets, and an overwhelming economic crisis.
And with countless Bikini Bottom pastors like Rev. Sumaili around, they will dine like saints, say grace on golden tables, while masses die from hunger and curable diseases as pastors sing “Kumbaya,” in the name of a “Christian Heritage” and “covenant with God”.