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On Zambia’s Annual Youth Day, Bishop Calls for Unity in Fight against “endemic corruption”

A poster of the Annual Youth Day in Zambia

On the annual event of Zambia’s Youth Day marked Friday, March 12, a Bishop in the Southern African nation has called on young people in the country to unite in the fight against corruption that he described as “endemic.”

In his March 12 statement availed to ACI Africa, Bishop George Zumaire Lungu of Zambia’s Chipata Diocese says “endemic corruption” is an obstacle in the process of realizing a stable and sustainable future for Zambian youth. 

Bishop Lungu calls “upon the Youth to unite in fighting against corruption wherever it is found and whenever it shows its ugly head.”

He adds that the youth in Zambia need to unite in the fight against graft because “you cannot fight it alone but as a movement together.”

According to the Local Ordinary of Chipata Diocese who doubles as the President of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB), graft is unacceptable “for it robs the youth of their dreams; it shuts possible opportunities to bring out the potential God has endowed in them for the good of our society.”

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He adds, in reference to young people, that corruption also “drowns them deeper into poverty with little hope of surviving; it suffocates them into desperate life choices that they never ever dreamt they would do in life.”

Instituted by the Zambian government in 1966, the annual Youth Day is a commemoration of the 12 March 1962 riots when young people in the country were killed by the colonial security forces.

The day is observed to celebrate the youth in the society and their contribution to development. It also serves as a reminder that young people are expected to be future leaders.  

This year’s celebration has been marked under the theme, “The Youth, building a stable and sustainable future.”

Reflecting on the theme, Bishop Lungu says that in their fight against corruption, the youth “may not enjoy the fruits of your labor yourselves, but your children will.”

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“With that accomplished, you will have created and guaranteed a future that is stable and sustainable,” he says and adds, in reference to this year’s theme, “You are the valuable agents of change today in preparation for a better tomorrow.”

The President of ZCCB further assures the youth in Zambia of the Church’s support in their quest for an environment that will promote the fulfillment of their noble dreams. 

“This is because ‘the joys and hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ,’” the Zambian Bishop says making reference to the Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes.

The 61-year-old Bishop further says that through the Church’s learning and health institution, “we hope to continue to empower you (youth) and ... we hope to contribute to your good health.”

Referencing Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Christus Vivit, Bishop Lungu continues to address himself the youth in Zambia saying, “Dear young people, my joyful hope is to see you keep running the race before you, outstripping all those who are slow or fearful.”

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“Keep running, attracted by the face of Christ, whom we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy Eucharist and acknowledge in the flesh of our suffering brothers and sisters,” he says.

He continues, “May the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race.”

“The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them! And when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us.”

Bishop Lungu implores in his March 12 message shared with ACI Africa, “May the Lord continue to walk with and guide you all the days of your precious lives. May His presence in your lives reinforce your hope for a better tomorrow. God bless you abundantly.”