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Zambia’s Treasured Peace Threatened By “some worrisome trends”: Bishop

Bishop George Zumaire Lungu of Zambia’s Chipata Diocese speaking at the opening of a two-day workshop on peacebuilding in Zambia's capital Lusaka.

A Bishop in Zambia has expressed concerns about some “worrisome” trends in the Southern African nation, cautioning that the “treasured peace” might be sacrificed if nothing is done.

“Some trends in Zambia today are worrisome and if left unchecked may force the country to sacrifice the treasured peace at the altar of expediency,” Bishop George Zumaire Lungu of Zambia’s Chipata Diocese said Wednesday, November 11.

Bishop Lungu who was presiding over the opening of a peacebuilding workshop in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka highlighted the “worrisome” trends including “unfair or biased application of the Public Order Act (POA), the reported cases of issuance of National Registration Cards (NRCs) to foreigners and the under-aged with the ruling party officials being involved in this exercise.”

Other “worrisome” prevailing tendencies the Bishop outlined are “insensitive tribal remarks from high ranking government officials, which promote hatred between tribes, dragging our traditional authorities into partisan politics.”

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The tendency to promote “rifts within and between Churches” is also among the concerns Bishop Lungu highlighted alongside corruption, which he said is a vice that is “slowly becoming the acceptable way of getting things done for you.”

“The high levels of the national debt as well as the growing gap between the haves and have-nots” are equally worrisome trends in Zambia, the Local Ordinary of Chipata Diocese who doubles as the President of the Zambia Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCCB) said.

If nothing is done to address the highlighted “worrisome” trends, Bishop Lungu cautioned, the results will be “continued discord and lack of progress in the pursuit of common good.”

Organized by ZCCB members at their Kapingila House in Zambia’s Lusaka Archdiocese, the two-day workshop that started November 11 is being held under the theme, “Towards a Peaceful Zambia - the role of the Church.”

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“The Church may take pride as a voice of the voiceless, the conscience of the nation,” Bishop Lungu said, making reference to the theme of the workshop that has brought together Bishops, Pastoral Coordinators, Communication Secretaries, Caritas Zambia representatives, and Social Program Directors drawn from the country’s nine Dioceses and two Archdioceses.

The Bishop further remarked, “If the voice of the Church at certain critical times goes silent for whatever reason, that is a failure on our part to be true to our identity as ambassadors of Christ and effective promoters and mediators of peace failure on its mission.”

It is “morally unacceptable” for the Church to watch while the peace threatening trends are ongoing, Bishop Lungu said, adding, “This workshop is no doubt a manifestation of that desire to do something about our situation.”

“It is a time to take note of the silent cries of our people and respond accordingly,” the 60-year-old Zambian Prelate went on to say, addressing himself to the 44 participants.

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The ZCCB President expressed the hope that the Holy Spirit guides the participants in the workshop to come up with ideas that “contribute to genuine peace and reconciliation in Zambia.”