Catholic Bishops Recognize Zambia-Malawi “strong ties”, Laud Support after Cyclone Freddy

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The Catholic Church in Zambia has a “fraternal” relationship with Malawi, two members of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) have said, adding that the ties that exist between the two neighboring countries came to the fore when Malawi suffered the devastating Cyclone Freddy.

Bishop Charles Joseph Sampa Kasonde of the Catholic Diocese of Solwezi and Archbishop Ignatius Chama of Kasama Archdiocese in Zambia said that the Church in Zambia had responded without delay to the humanitarian crisis in Malawi when the cyclone hit the Southern part of the country, leaving behind a trail of destruction.

“As a Bishops’ Conference, we immediately sent aid to our brothers in Malawi, with whom we have very strong ties,” Bishop Chama told Agenzia Fides, the information service of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Propaganda Fide.

Bishop Chama’s sentiments were echoed by Bishop Kasonde, who said, “Our government did the same, which sent loads of food, clothing, blankets and medicine to our brothers and sisters in Malawi.”

“The peoples of Zambia and Malawi are very close, to the point that we feel almost the same country because of the ties that unite us, including the linguistic ones,” the Bishop of Solwezi who doubles as the Chairman of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) added.


Meanwhile, Archbishop Chama has lauded the contribution of the Catholic Church in Zambia, in impacting the social lives of the people.

“The Catholic Church in Zambia is highly appreciated for the many institutions that are made available to all Zambians: there are a good number of clinics and hospitals, from schools to universities,” the Zambian Catholic Archbishop who serves as ZCCB President says.

He however notes that unlike the Pentecostal Churches and Islam, the Catholic Church in Zambia does not have sufficient resources to meet the needs of the people, where many live in poverty.

“Out of a population of 19 million inhabitants, about 40% is Catholic, with variations from one diocese to another, according to the history of evangelization in each area,” the Archbishop of Kasama tells Agenzia Fides.

He adds, “Our challenge is the spread of Pentecostal and Evangelical churches and the Islamic faith. The latter has great resources to invest in social activities that attract the poorest segments of the population.”

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One of the biggest challenges that the population in Zambia is facing, Archbishop Chama says, is unemployment, with the youth most affected.

He says that those living in urban areas without jobs suffer the most compared to those who stay in rural areas where they have the option to engage in farming.

“At the moment the greatest concern is the high unemployment which especially affects young people,” the Catholic Archbishop says, adding that prices of basic necessities, including food, are high, “largely due to the increase in fuel costs caused by the war in Europe.”

“Fortunately, a large part of the population still lives in rural areas and can cultivate the land to get something to eat. Life in the city is harder because if you don't have a job you depend on someone else to survive. The most difficult situation is that of the inhabitants of the shanty towns of the cities,” Archbishop Chama says.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.