Friday 30 September 2016

From a catholic and Protestant Zambia to a Pentecostal Zambia : Catholic church opposes the establishment of the new Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs to be headed by a Pentecostal pastor

Catholics and Protestant Churches in Zambia against new Ministry of Religion

Zambia's President Edgar Lungu  - REUTERS
Zambia's President Edgar Lungu - REUTERS
21/09/2016 14:51
The Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) together with leaders of the umbrella body of Protestant Churches, the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) have vehemently opposed the establishment of a new government ministry to be known as the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs.
Opposing the government's move, the two Church bodies said they found the creation of a new ministry of religious affairs unnecessary and imprudent.
“In view of the various financial and economic challenges our country is currently facing, we neither see the creation of the said ministry as a top priority nor a prudent decision. After all, we believe that Zambians want their country to be a democracy rather than a theocracy,” the statement reads in part. On these grounds, CCZ and ZCCB stand opposed to the creation of the new ministry
Zambian President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, last week appointed Reverand Godfridah Sumaili, a Pentecostal pastor of Lusaka’s Bread of Life Church as the new head of the ministry of religious affairs. Sumaili was subsequently nominated Member of Parliament, by Lungu. The Zambian parliament still has to ratify the appointment and the creation of the new ministry. Observers in Lusaka seemed to regard the ratification as a formality.
Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) Executive Director, Reverend Pukuta Mwanza, on behalf of Pentecostal Churches, last month, praised President Lungu’s initiative saying it would “promote Christian values and give more meaning to the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation.”
On 4 September, while visiting State Lodge’s Divine Mercy Catholic Parish, in Lusaka, President Lungu told parishioners that the Church in Zambia should not be threatened by the creation of the ministry of religious affairs. He said the ministry would harmonise State-Church Relations.
Former President Frederick Chiluba in 1997 established the Religious Affairs desk with Rev. Peter Chintala as Deputy Minister at Statehouse. The religious desk suffered because of unclear terms of reference and its inability to garner support and consensus from Churches. Eventually, it was quietly phased out.
(Fr. Paul Samasumo, Vatican Radio)
Find below the full statement of the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) and the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB).
Dear brothers and sisters, fellow citizens, the people of God. As leaders of the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) and the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB), formerly ZEC, we hereby wish to state our position with regard to the proposed creation of the Ministry for National Guidance and Religious Affairs.
Firstly, we believe that the common denominator and our mutual rallying point between the Church and the State is that we are both concerned about the common good and the well-being of God’s people. As such, we see the need for the two to trust each other, engage in genuine dialogue and work as partners in promoting the development of its peoples, especially the poor. This requires sustaining a healthy Church-State relationship, with the Government not favouring only those groups that praise every decision it makes and every plan it follows. On our part, we shall continue to be non-partisan and respectful while playing a vital role of being a voice of conscience calling a nation to order, especially in the aftermath of the 2016 general elections that have incurred on our people scars of violence, division, tribalism and hatred. 2
Secondly, and notwithstanding our readiness to collaborate with the government of the day in our common pursuit for national development, our position is that the Church and State should be and continue to remain separate. In view of the various financial and economic challenges our country is currently facing, we neither see the creation of the said ministry as a top priority nor a prudent decision. After-all, we believe that Zambians want their country to be a democracy rather than a theocracy. Not only that, we believe that as churches and other faith communities, we have thus far been able to exercise our God-given mandate and meaningfully contribute towards national development without having such a ministry. Therefore, both CCZ and ZCCB stand opposed to the creation of the above mentioned ministry.
Thirdly, we stand by the biblical principle as clearly taught by our Lord Jesus Christ, who declared: "Well, then, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God" (Mark 12:17). Again, our Lord and founder defined our prophetic mandate when he proclaimed: “The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour” (Luke 4:18; Cf. Isaiah 61:1-2). In other words, the Church derives its authority, mission and structure from God and this must not be confused with temporal order of political governance.
Fourthly, we take this opportunity to reassure our membership that, we the said Church Mother Bodies, will not be intimidated in exercising our God-given mission of being the conscience of the nation and exercising our prophetic ministry of calling for social justice following the example of our Founder, Jesus Christ. At the same time, we commit ourselves to continue being credible and reliable instruments for promoting a culture of dialogue, reconciliation, justice, unity, development, respect for divergent views and peace in Zambia.
May God bless you all and bless our nation Zambia
Signed on 19th September 2016
Most Rev. T-G Mpundu, ZCCB President
Rev. Dr. Alfred Kalembo, CCZ President

25 years down the Road : Is Zambia a true christian nation???

Eight years after President Frederick Chiluba officially declared Zambia to be a "Christian nation," the declaration is largely meaningless, according to church leaders and officials. On December 30, 1991, Zambia's newly installed president declared this small, southern African nation a Christian state, despite opposition from some Christian and Muslim leaders. Prominent church officials interviewed by Ecumenical News International (ENI) this week said that the declaration had become increasingly "hollow," as Zambia faces mounting social, political and economic problems, including widespread corruption. Archbishop John Mambo, head of a 1.5 million-member Protestant denomination, the Church of God in Zambia, said there had been a rise in "immorality and corruption in our country which puts a question mark on our being called a Christian nation."

Archbishop Mambo told ENI: "There is very little to show that we are a Christian nation with so much wrong-doing, both in private and public life. There is nothing to distinguish us from secular nations. This is sad."

Joe Komakoma, a priest and executive secretary of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), agreed that immorality had increased, especially among government leaders.
Komakoma said leaders were amassing wealth in dubious ways, leaving ordinary people uncared for. "Lust for money, power and social privileges has been made to look like a virtue. This has resulted in the worsening of social indicators, high poverty levels, widening of the gap between the rich and the poor, endemic corruption and a sharp rise in crime."

Thomas Lumba, a pastor and national director of the 2-million-member Evangelical Fellowship churches, also said that rising poverty was at odds with Zambia's status as a Christian nation.
Speaking at a function to celebrate the eighth anniversary of the declaration, Lumba said it was disappointing that there was almost nothing in the public life of many Zambians to indicate that the country had been declared Christian. He also drew attention to rising poverty affecting most Zambians. Celebrations of the 8th anniversary of the declaration attracted only a small following. The organizers, including the deputy minister for religious affairs, Peter Chintala, had expected more than half-a-million people to attend the main celebration at Lusaka's agriculture and commercial showgrounds. But only about 10,000 people had come. Zambia's vice president Lieutenant General Christon Tembo, who stood in for President Chiluba at the event, admitted that so far the declaration had remained largely theoretical. "We have blueprints on paper. But we need to concretize this declaration." He said church leaders would meet government officials soon to draw up a program with a definite direction for the nation to follow."

We should have a Christian orientation in all fields at all levels, if we are to truly turn Zambia into a Christian nation," he said.
But the Christian nation declaration celebrations have long been fraught with controversy. Leaders of the opposition political parties were not invited to the latest celebrations. Dean Mungomba, vice-chairman of an alliance of seven opposition parties, denounced the celebrations as deceitful, treacherous, and a one-party affair. "They [government leaders] cannot invite any opposition leaders because they know the crimes they have committed against the citizens of this country in the name of Christ."
We can't deal with chaps who plundered the wealth of this nation in the name of God. They do not qualify to declare this country a Christian nation."

Alick Mugala, media liaison officer of the National Islamic Propagation Centre, said: "Declaring Zambia a Christian nation puts one religion in a superior position to others, and that is not fair."
According to the World Churches Handbook, published in London, about 4.6 million of Zambia's population of 10 million are Christians. The Roman Catholic Church in Zambia, which is the biggest, has about 1.6 million members, according to the handbook. Zambia also has small Muslim and Hindu communities.

What Chiluba did after declaring Zambia a Christian Nation

20th October, 2015 
By Billy Kapinga
Zambians are so gullible and naive or must I say we have a tendency to forget easily.

On 29th December 1991, second Republican President FTJ Chiluba declared Zambia a Christian nation; did our political leaders at the time lead a God fearing and exemplary life? No ways!

The country witnessed the worst plunder never experienced before under the so called born again President.

No wonder the Catholics opposed the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation because that was a ploy to hoodwink and cow the nation into total submission as the plunderers defiled and raped our beloved nation.

President Lungu has declared October 18th as the day of fasting, repentance and reconciliation……and we praise God for that.

However, we are yet to see if our leaders will refrain from corrupt activities, verbal and physical violence, slander, drunkenness etc for all these aren’t in conformity with Christianity.

Frederick Chiluba, Infamous Zambia Leader, Dies at 68 

By Barry Bearak 

June , 19th  2011

Frederick Chiluba, the first democratically elected president of Zambia, a man whose image as a defender of civil liberties was later tarnished by his efforts to suppress political opposition and accusations that he used millions of dollars of public money on his wardrobe and other extravagances, died Saturday in Lusaka. He was 68.
He suffered from chronic heart problems. His death was confirmed by his spokesman, Emmanuel Mwamba.
The son of a copper miner, Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba — a diminutive man barely five feet tall — was Zambia’s president from 1991 to 2002. His ascent to high office was for a time considered a heartening success story in a poor, landlocked nation of 13 million people in southern Africa.
He left secondary school before graduation and was working as a low-paid bookkeeper when he joined a union, rising through the ranks in the labor movement until he became chairman of the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions in 1974.
The nation had won independence 10 years earlier. Kenneth Kaunda, a hero of the liberation struggle, was Zambia’s first president, but his single-party, socialist rule was an economic failure. In 1981, he jailed Mr. Chiluba and other labor leaders without charges after they instigated wildcat strikes.
A judge ruled the detentions unconstitutional, and after three months behind bars, Mr. Chiluba emerged emboldened. He would eventually forge a coalition of unions, civic groups and churches to form the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy to challenge Mr. Kaunda at the polls.
A personable man with oratorical gifts, Mr. Chiluba was a born-again Christian and often used biblical references in his speeches. He was also a passionate advocate of democracy, and in 1991, when Mr. Kaunda finally agreed to multiparty elections, Mr. Chiluba won the presidency with nearly 76 percent of the vote.
Frederick Chiluba's presidency did little to address Zambia's poverty. Credit Salim Henry/Associated Press
In his first address, the new president said, “The Zambia we inherit is destitute — ravaged by the excesses, ineptitude and straight corruption of a party and a people who have been in power for too long.” He lamented that after 27 years of Mr. Kaunda’s leadership, “Now the coffers are empty. The people are poor. The misery endless.”
Mr. Chiluba was indeed inheriting a fiscal mess, and though he steered the country toward a free-market economy, the government remained dependent on foreign aid, and the average Zambian was still mired in poverty.
The remarkable transformation seemed to come in Mr. Chiluba rather than in his nation.
The Chiluba government was notably corrupt, and the president appeared to regard himself as irreplaceable. In 1996, he barred Mr. Kaunda from running against him, changing the Constitution to preclude candidates born outside Zambia. He even attempted to deport Mr. Kaunda to Malawi.
In 2001, Mr. Chiluba again toyed with rewriting the law, this time to allow himself a third term in office. But by then, the president’s reputation as a reformer had been replaced by one far less flattering. Civic groups and churches rose up in opposition and thwarted the plan. Instead, Mr. Chiluba anointed his former vice president, Levy Mwanawasa, as his successor, presuming that incriminating secrets would remain concealed.
But the new president, narrowly elected, instead decided to shine a light on public corruption. Mr. Chiluba would soon be charged with stealing $500,000 of public funds. He additionally was sued in a civil action by Zambia’s attorney general, who decided to try the case in Great Britain, where the former president was said to have laundered millions of dollars he plundered while in office.
Testimony in the civil matter was astonishing. Zambia’s anti-corruption task force had seized much of Mr. Chiluba’s wardrobe, including 349 shirts, 206 jackets and suits, and 72 pairs of size-6 shoes, many of them personalized with his initials affixed in brass. The heels added two inches to his stature.
Mr. Chiluba was accused of stealing to support shopping sprees, said to involve suitcases full of cash, for items like shoes. Credit Mariella Furrer for The New York Times
Mr. Chiluba spent more than $500,000 in a single clothing store, Boutique Basile, in Geneva. Its owner testified that garments were sometimes paid for with suitcases full of cash.
“The president,” unlike the emperor, “needs to be clothed,” Justice Peter Smith of the High Court said in 2007, ruling that Mr. Chiluba owed Zambia $57 million. Much of the money, Justice Smith said, had been funneled into an intelligence agency bank account in London “set up primarily to steal government money.” Justice Smith said the former president “should be ashamed,” pointing out that while he was accumulating handmade shoes and silk pajamas, many Zambians “could not afford more than one meal a day.”
Mr. Chiluba, who never appeared in court, refused to recognize Justice Smith’s verdict, calling it “racist” and “obscene.”
The criminal proceedings, held in Lusaka, were less sensational. They dragged on for six years, frequently delayed by Mr. Chiluba’s ill health. The former president denied stealing any public funds, saying instead that he had received millions in gifts from “corporate interests” and “well-wishers” whose identities he would not reveal because of “the golden rule of anonymity.”
In 2009, a magistrate acquitted Mr. Chiluba, ruling that however large his fortune, the money could not be traced to missing government funds. Celebrating the news, the former president said, “The devil has tried to put the stigma of a thief on me, but God has dealt with the devil.”
By then, Levy Mwanawasa had died in office. His successor, Rupiah Banda, has since disbanded much of the nation’s anticorruption apparatus. Mr. Banda has referred to Mr. Chiluba as a “damn good president” and credited him with bringing political freedoms to the country.
Mr. Chiluba will be accorded a state funeral, the government announced. He is survived by his wife, Regina, and, according to local reports, 10 children.

Tuesday 27 September 2016

The Politics of Pigs and Ugandan MPs : Speaker Kadaga should not silence media from exposing MPs’ Greed


The Transition of Ugandan MPs From Honorable Members of Parliament (MPs) to Diabolical Members of the Pig Family(Mpigs) : MP burial to 67.7 million shillings 

Is public anger against members of parliament justified?  

 Written by URN
Created: 17 September 2016

The rising anger against MPs, illustrated by the dropping of blue and yellow-painted piglets at parliament last week, has raised fears the collision course could accelerate into a confrontation.
A legislator told The Observer yesterday that she now fears to introduce herself as a member of parliament in some quarters. Security at parliament has been tightened following reports that a group of people planned to storm the building.
There is a growing feeling in the public that legislators, on both sides of the political divide, are living greedy and ostentatious lives while being insensitive to the plight of the people who voted for them.
Among other factors, the current outrage has been triggered by MPs demanding cars at the cost of Shs 150m each; lavish expenditure on travel, and VIP burial expenses estimated at Shs 68 million per funeral.
This perception has been aggravated by a couple of MPs who are championing what is perceived as opportunistic political projects such as Anne Maria Nankabirwa’s Kyankwanzi district resolution urging President Museveni to rule beyond 2021, and Kafeero Ssekitooleko’s age-limit bill.
On the other hand, MPs point out that they deserve all the facilitation they get, just like other public servants, to enable them per- form their roles efficiently. Moreover, given the breakdown in service delivery and poverty, MPs spend much of the money they earn on their voters through handouts, school fees, funeral expenses and ambulances, to mention but a few.
That is why some of them smell foul play in the public discontent against them. They suspect rival institutions, particularly those whose officials have come under scrutiny over misuse of public resources, are behind the negative sentiments.
“We do not rule this out,” said Nabilah Naggayi, the Kampala woman MP.
“Why is it that of all the institutions that are given public money, the people are targeting us?”
Chris Obore, the director of communication and public affairs at parliament, told The Observer yesterday that the public anger against parliament, while justified, is misplaced.
“If the people are concerned about the expenditure of parliament, who is telling people how the ministry of works spends its money or how the ministry of health spends its budget? We need to make this comparison so that the people can know whether parliament is being wasteful or not.”
Over the years, parliament’s expenditure has been rising in part because of the increase in the number of MPs and additional costs such as security. Between 2011 and 2016, parliament’s budget has almost tripled from Shs 158bn to Shs 444bn.
Yet it remains unclear whether the rise in the number of MPs and in parliament’s expenditure, has led to more efficient representation. Eshban Kwesiga of Parliament Watch, an organisation that tracks the performance of parliament, said they intended to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the performance of parliament to determine its effectiveness.
Frank Gashumba, a social critic and confessed sup- porter of Dr Kizza Besigye, told The Observer yesterday that the selfishness of the MPs should be an eyeopener to the voters.
“MPs are not the problem. The problem is the dumb people that keep voting them. We should shift our focus now to the voters so that they become hungry and angry towards the MPs they voted,” said Gashumba.
Gashumba added that he had launched a campaign to mobilize 100,000 signatures that will be taken to President Museveni, who will be expected to rein in the MPs.
“The president fears numbers; so, when we take these signatures, he will be forced to act,” Gashumba said.
Ahmed Kiyimba, a businessman, posted on his facebook page on September 20: “I think it’s high time the whole country (MPs and non MPs) do some soul-searching and find out what we really want, just yesterday all those MPs were ordinary citizens, so whatever they are doing incidentally represents what most of the society thinks and we’ll have the same result if we swap the individuals tomorrow as long as they are drawn from the current Ugandan society....Food for thought.”
The opposition, in trying to deflect this anger, has tried to save some face with FDC, the biggest opposition party in parliament, suggesting that MPs be given car loans, as opposed to free cash. Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, the FDC spokesman and MP for Kira municipality, told journalists that he intends to table a motion to this effect.
But Ibrahim Kasozi, the Makindye East MP, labeled Ssemujju’s move as “opportunistic,” doubting whether he will garner the needed support.
“That is a cheap move that will not work,” Kasozi said of his FDC colleague.
Prof Morris Ogenga Latigo, the former leader of opposition, told The Observer on Wednesday that parliament needs to do some soul searching.
“Parliament should retreat from controversies and do things that people perceive that they should be doing. Sometimes you don’t have to do things on your account,” he said.
The pigs’ saga has also sown seeds of disharmony amongst fellow MPs while drawing in the media. In various media inter- views, Muhammad Nsereko, the Kampala central MP, has accused FDC of being behind the pigs protest at parliament. The accusation has not gone down well with FDC whose spokesman Ssemujju has in turn accused Nsereko of grandstanding.
“Nsereko has an exaggerated sense of himself. He is angry that people have discovered who he is,” Ssemujju told us earlier in the week.
Sources in parliament told us that Latif Ssebaggala, Kawempe North MP who is also the Imam of parliament, has been trying to reconcile the two MPs but to no avail. In the crossfire between parliament and the public is the media, which has come under severe attack from the legislators.
MPs accuse the media of amplifying and exaggerating the benefits of MPs, particularly the vehicles, hence whipping up public sentiments. During a heated plenary session last week, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga suggested that editors may be summoned before the parliamentary committee on rules and discipline to explain why their media organisations report unfavourably about parliament.
On social media and other platforms, some people have suggested that the kind of politics obtaining in Uganda today is a perfect reincarnation of the Orwellian politics, described in the 1945 classic book, Animal Farm by George Orwell. In the book, the animals chased away the farm managers whom they accused of mistreatment.
After the pigs took charge as leaders, other animals soon or later realized there was no difference between the old and new leadership. In one of the quotes from the book that have been do- ing rounds on social media, Squealer, one of the pigs, tries to defend the leaders.
“Comrades!”Squealer cried,“You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brain- workers. The whole management and organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for yoursake that we drink that milk and eat those apples.”

Perhaps MPs, some people concluded, deserve all the apples and milk (perks) they are getting so that they can serve their voters better.
In response to negative press coverage, speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga has assigned parliament’s committee on rules, privilege and principle to investigate journalists and consider charging offenders with “contempt of parliament.”
What a waste of time and abuse of power! It’s absurd that some MPs went as far as suggesting that journalists should swear an oath before they are allowed to cover parliament.
This level of self-importance is, in fact, what the public is reacting to when they criticize their MPs. And when the journalists reflect the public’s sentiments, they are only performing their duty.
MPs are not beyond criticism. In fact, no one is. It is also the right of Ugandans to know how taxpayers’ money is being spent in parliament because they pick the bill.
While they might be powerless to stop expenditure they find objectionable – like funding two speakers and dozens of MPs to attend a conference in the United States – it’s still their right to speak out against it through the media. Any attempt to take that away, while hiding behind wild conspiracy theories, smacks of arrogance and intolerance.
It is particularly revealing that the working relationship between journalists and parliament has soured during the current speaker’s stewardship. Under Ms Kadaga’s watch, journalists have been chased from parliament for writing news stories she didn’t like.
Still under her watch, parliament has moved to eliminate journalists who have stayed on the beat for more than five years and later those without degrees. These moves, including those that appear well-meaning, have not been engineered in good faith. They have been inspired by the urge to control journalists’ work in a bid to entertain only that content that the speaker can tolerate.
This is not to suggest in any way that journalists don’t make mistakes. When they do, parliament has a team of former journalists working as communications officials whose job it is to respond in the media whenever their employer has been wronged or misrepresented.
There is no need for an institution that should be championing press and other freedoms to resort to draconian measures to gag the media.

Gertrude Njuba
Captain Gertrude Njuba, the State House Land directorate head, says Ugandans should stream onto streets in Kampala and demonstrate against the 10th Parliament’s lavish spending on cars and funerals.
In an interview with The Observer, Njuba adds that dropping piglets within the precincts of parliament by the Jobless Brotherhood youths was a primitive way of showing their displeasure with parliament.
“I have always been against any defiant acts. But today, I would willingly join the demo against the lavish expenditure of the MPs if anybody apart from Dr Kizza Besigye called me,” Njuba notes.
Njuba is the first government official to publicly criticise parliament since the controversy over its spending spilled into public view.
Njuba was particularly angered by the alleged Shs 2bn spent on the MPs’ recent trip to the US to attend the Ugandan North American Association (UNAA) convention. However, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga vehemently disputes that figure.
“I have been admiring opposition politicians including Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda [Kira municipality MP] who have been telling us that they stand for the poor people’s causes. Now that they have also turned on their heels, at one time they will be described by a creature worse than a pig; for me, I am for a mass demonstration against them,” Njuba adds.
However, Chris Obore, the director for communication and public affairs at Parliament, described Njuba as ‘populist.’
Obore told The Observer on Saturday that the state honours every person who has made a contribution and MPs were among them.
“She [Njuba] has worked in State House for many years, has she ever rejected any benefits from government including her salary?” Obore wondered.
“As an elderly woman who has worked in government, she should desist from being a populist.”