The Lusaka Province Chairperson of the United Party for National Development (UPND), Hon Mwaliteta, has clarified his position regarding recent political statements made by Bishop Alick Banda. In a statement released today, Hon Mwaliteta emphasized that his disagreement was directed towards the individual bishop and not the Catholic Church as a whole.
Hon Mwaliteta, who himself is a devout Catholic, expressed his respect for the values and beliefs of the Church. He shared that he had been baptized as a Catholic member in 1984 and had grown up in a household of Catholics. Stressing his commitment to the Catholic faith, he highlighted that his disagreement with Bishop Alick Banda’s statements should not be misconstrued as a conflict with the Church.
The UPND leader pointed out that the political statements made by Bishop Alick Banda and two other priests did not represent the entire Catholic community. He questioned why the bishop had remained silent during the times when he and UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema were arrested and mistreated by the previous administration. Hon Mwaliteta also criticized the bishop for not condemning the alleged injustices committed by the ruling party, including the loss of innocent lives and the gas attacks that plagued the nation.
In his statement, Hon Mwaliteta asserted that he disagreed with Bishop Alick Banda as an individual who was dragging the Catholic Church into his political agenda of supporting the Patriotic Front (PF). He argued that the bishop should not misuse the privilege of standing on the pulpit to attack national leaders he dislikes. Hon Mwaliteta cited the biblical injunction against judging others and questioned the source of the bishop’s authority to label Hakainde Hichilema a liar.
The UPND Lusaka Province Chairperson highlighted that the Catholic Church comprised members from various political affiliations and diverse backgrounds. He rejected the notion that the bishop’s statements represented the views of all Catholic members, including those who supported the UPND. Hon Mwaliteta reaffirmed his party’s commitment to the Catholic Church and stated that they would not abandon their faith due to the actions of an individual who appeared to be fighting against Hakainde Hichilema and a particular tribe.
Concluding his statement, Hon Mwaliteta advised Bishop Alick Banda to focus on preaching the word of God, love, and peace, which are the expectations of a religious leader. He urged the bishop to refrain from misleading the Church and engaging in political agendas that divide the faithful.
The bishop’s office was contacted for a response but had not provided a comment at the time of this publication.
The UPND Lusaka Province Chairperson’s statement highlights the tensions and disagreements that have emerged within the Catholic Church regarding political affiliations and the role of religious leaders in Zambia. As the country moves forward, it remains to be seen how these differing perspectives will be addressed and reconciled within the Church and the wider Zambian society.