IN FACT, THE CATHOLIC STATEMENT AND POSITION IS LONG OVERDUE. I WAS REFLECTING AND THINKING ABOUT IT AS THINGS WERE HAPPENING IN OUR COUNTRY. I SAID, ‘BUT WHERE IS THE CHURCH, WHY HAS THE CHURCH GIVEN A BLIND EYE TO WHAT IS HAPPENING. HAVE THEY BEEN COMPROMISED?’
“Because of the creation of Ministry of Religious Affairs now, they feel that ministry is benefiting them and don’t care what’s happening to the rest of the Zambians. I asked where the Catholic Church was because first of all, are they going to wait until Zambia slides to the likes of Rwanda where the church watched as the genocide escalated?”
She urged the Catholic bishops to speak for the helpless and not fold their hands as the country slips into a dictatorship.
“I wondered about their silence and thought they were approving on what was happening. Should they wait until there is genocide in the country for them to respond? I was excited when they broke their silence,” Imenda said;
NOW LET THE AUTHORITIES LISTEN BECAUSE THE THINGS HAPPENING NOW ARE A RECIPE FOR CHAOS. THEY HAD TO WAIT UNTIL THE RESURRECTION OF AN IDI AMIN IN ZAMBIA. ARE THEY GOING TO WAIT UNTIL THIS IDI AMIN STARTS EATING OUR FLESH, THAT’S WHEN THEY WILL DO SOMETHING? INDEED THEIR STATEMENT IS LONG OVERDUE. IDI AMIN HAS RESURRECTED IN ZAMBIA AND THE CHURCH SHOULD NOT JUST KEEP QUIET LIKE THEY DID. WE ARE HAPPY THAT THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS HAVE SEEN WHAT’S HAPPENING AND HAVE SPOKEN.
She further called on the international community to act and not wait until there was bloodshed in the country.
“All the issues they raise are very pertinent but I want to issue out one which is on the police and their brutality. As we speak, I can say that we do not have a police to write home about. The Inspector General [of Police] does not know his terms of reference and his jobdescription. If he does, then he does not know the law. Our police now is a group that is committing atrocities against the citizens,” said Imenda.
In their pastoral letter, the Catholic bishops stated that there was fear and trembling among people shown in the way they were afraid to speak out against injustices.
“This is due to several actions by government which were meant to instill fear into and intimidate the masses. One does not need to belong to a political party in order for him or her to speak out on the misdeeds happening in the nation. Furthermore, we are witnesses to what transpired during the run-up to the August 2016 general elections when several media houses were harassed and finally closed. The recent happenings were not reported by several media houses because of the heavy presence of the police,” Archbishop Mpundu stated.
OUR COUNTRY IS NOW ALL, EXCEPT IN DESIGNATION, A DICTATORSHIP AND IF IT IS NOT YET, THEN WE ARE NOT FAR FROM IT. OUR POLITICAL LEADERS IN THE RULING PARTY OFTEN ISSUE INTIMIDATING STATEMENTS THAT FRIGHTEN PEOPLE AND MAKE US FEAR FOR THE IMMEDIATE AND FUTURE. THIS MUST BE STOPPED AND REVERSED HENCEFORTH.
He also stated that people could not claim to know God if they failed to respond to and confront the injustices in society because “to know God means to do justice” and “to do justice is to know God”.
Archbishop Mpundu further condemned the massive, disproportionate and entirely unnecessary force with which the police acted to apprehend UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema, who is facing a treason charge.
“Would it not have been much more civilised and professional to deliver a summons to him containing a charge and ordering him to appear before the police to answer charges of alleged law breaking? The brutal way in which the police acted has only served to heighten the already considerable tension in the nation particularly between supporters of the UPND and PF,” stated Archbishop Mpundu who also denounced attacks on the Law Association of Zambia which the PF wanted to kill.