The United Party for National Development (UPND) has made a strong statement regarding Bishop Alick Banda and Salangeta, denouncing them as political conmen and declaring them as political opponents rather than priests. The statement was released by UPND Secretary General, Hon Batuke Imenda, who expressed the party’s concerns over the role of the church in politics and the actions of these individuals.
While the UPND acknowledges the importance of constructive criticism and the church’s guidance in political matters, it emphasizes that the Catholic Church usually communicates its messages through pastoral letters issued by the church mother bodies like the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB), rather than individual priests aligned with specific political cadres.
However, in the case of Bishop Alick Banda, the UPND asserts that he is a well-known political conman affiliated with the Patriotic Front (PF) who manipulates the pulpit to propagate PF ideologies. Hon Batuke Imenda highlights that in the previous elections, Bishop Alick Banda openly supported the PF, along with the Chawama Priest who pledged support for the PF Chawama MP.
The UPND believes that Bishop Alick Banda and Salangeta’s support for each other stems from their discontent over their loss in the 2021 elections. The party suggests that these individuals are disheartened to witness President HH exceeding their expectations in his efforts to improve Zambia. Hon Batuke Imenda points out numerous accomplishments achieved by the current government, such as free education, the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), the recruitment of teachers and healthcare workers, artisanal training programs, the reopening of the Indeni refinery, unity, and progress in resolving the country’s debt crisis.
Furthermore, Hon Batuke Imenda accuses Bishop Alick Banda of being the “Lucifer of Zambia,” alleging that he takes advantage of citizens by promoting the PF, a party accused of perpetrating acts such as gassing citizens, promoting bloodshed, dividing the nation, engaging in corruption, and suppressing media freedom. The UPND secretary general questions the silence of these self-proclaimed “men of God” during these troubling incidents, calling it hypocrisy.
The UPND challenges Bishop Alick Banda to a public debate regarding the sincerity of the new government’s actions and urges him to follow the path of Father Bwalya, who transitioned from a political figure to a respected voice outside of partisan politics. The party advises both Bishop Alick Banda and Salangeta to cease using the pulpit as a platform for political speeches, emphasizing that the church should focus on delivering the message of salvation rather than hate speech.
The UPND declares that it will consider Bishop Alick Banda and Salangeta as political opponents moving forward, emphasizing that it will call a spade a spade. The party challenges the two individuals to remove their veils and openly contend for the PF presidency, suggesting a battleground for political discourse.
The controversy surrounding the involvement of religious figures in politics continues to raise concerns about the blurred lines between spiritual guidance and partisan advocacy. As the political landscape evolves, it remains to be seen how this clash between the UPND and Bishop Alick Banda will unfold and impact public sentiment.