Hon Sunday Chanda, the Member of Parliament for Kanchibiya Constituency, has emphasized the crucial role played by the Church in the nation’s development and called for constructive engagement between the Church and the government. In a thought-provoking statement, Hon Sunday Chanda highlighted the historical significance of the Church in Zambia’s journey towards peace, democracy, and social justice.
Zambia’s status as a Christian nation has fostered an environment where faith in God plays a central role in the aspirations of its people. The Church, as a result, is expected to actively contribute to the spiritual, political, socio-economic, and cultural aspects of the nation. Over the years, the Church has been an active participant in various significant moments, such as the liberation struggle, democratization efforts, and the fight against social injustices.
“Religion in general, and in this particular context, the church in Zambia, is expected to play an active and not a passive role in the life of the nation — spiritually, politically, socioeconomically, and culturally,” stated Hon Sunday Chanda. “The history of our great nation bears witness that the church has consistently played both an active and catalytic role at different stages in our nation’s journey.”
Recognizing the importance of peace and stability, Hon Sunday Chanda asserts that the Church is a key cornerstone in Zambia’s collective pursuit of genuine nation-building and development. “Since peace and tranquility are chief cornerstones in any nation’s aspirations to achieve appreciable levels of socioeconomic development and national stability, the gatekeepers of this peace, unity, and tranquility such as the church inevitably become chief cornerstones in our collective pursuits for genuine nation building and development,” he explained.
While the Church operates within a broader societal context, it holds multidimensional responsibilities and interrelationships with various formal and informal structures and institutions. Hon Sunday Chanda believes that the Church should make unbiased contributions towards improving the well-being of the masses in collaboration with government and non-governmental structures.
“The church has multidimensional responsibilities and interrelationships with all these formal and informal structures and institutions in our great Republic nation,” noted Hon Sunday Chanda. “Among these multidimensional responsibilities and interrelationships that the church has is making meaningful and unbiased contributions towards improving the spiritual, political, socioeconomic, and cultural well-being of the masses.”
Citing scripture, Hon Sunday Chanda highlights the role of the Church in actively participating in improving social and economic conditions within society. “The Holy Bible tells us that ‘Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world’ (James 1:27),” he stated. “This scripture goes beyond the exclusive literal care for widows and orphans alone but includes all those in destitution by using various means such as offering spiritual and material solutions to the need or being their voice on certain issues at higher levels.”
Hon Sunday Chanda emphasizes that the Church’s message of social justice is at the core of the Christian faith. “The message and voice of the Church cannot be quenched, no matter the circumstances or changing times, because it is ordained by God Almighty,” he expressed. “Defending the weak and the fatherless, upholding the cause of the poor and the oppressed, and seeking justice are all fundamental aspects of the Church’s role.”
Expressing concern over recent tensions between the Church, particularly the Catholic Church, and the government, Hon Sunday Chanda calls for constructive engagement. He urges the government to embrace healthy debate and constructive criticism as essential measures of good governance and national development. Drawing from historical experiences, he emphasizes that conflicts between the Church and the government have often resulted in the Church emerging victorious.
“It is in this regard that the recent stand-off between the Church, in particular the Catholic Church, and Government, has been a source of great concern for all well-meaning Zambian citizens,” Hon Sunday Chanda shared. “We, therefore, pray for the current government to reconsider their relationship with the Church in general, for the well-being of the nation.”
In conclusion, Hon Sunday Chanda applauds the Catholic Church for its significant contributions to the development of Kanchibiya Constituency and beyond. He recognizes the Church’s efforts in establishing healthcare facilities, schools, and projects that promote social justice. He calls for genuine engagement between the government and the Church as they collectively tackle the complex developmental challenges faced by Zambia.