Earlier this week the President, Rupiah Banda, dissolved Parliament and set September 20 2011, as the date for presidential, parliamentary and local government election. In response three Church bodies - Council of Churches in Zambia, Zambia Episcopal Conference, and Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia have issued a joint pastoral letter called, ‘A call to vote in peace, truth and justice’.
It is a Christian duty, they said, for citizens to chose their leaders freely and peacefully and to build for peace and avoiding violence. ‘ Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody.’ (Romans 12:18)
They also said that Christians should realise that they had a moral responsibility to vote for candidates who followed the example of Jesus Christ. They suggested too that only leaders with demonstrated integrity, a concern for social justice and with the courage to speak the truth should be elected so that clear and convincing political, economic and social programmes are implemented to reduce poverty and human suffering. This is a timely reminder that politics everywhere are about offering service to the people, especially the needy in society. Politics should not be self-serving or about self-enrichment. Political leaders, the letter continues should respect the needs of fellow human beings and works towards addressing them. This at times calls for personal sacrifice and the realisation that one is serving God's children
In the same letter, the Church criticized the Electoral Commission of Zambia for its refusal to accept parallel vote tabulation (PVT). This position says the Church is undermining ECZ’s independence and reputation as being free from manipulation but there was still time for all parties to reach an amicable solution regarding parallel vote tabulation. We have since heard that CCZ has asked for election monitors from the WCC to help to ensure a free fair and transparent electoral process
The Church urged the media to be fair and courageous in its reporting, the police to be impartial in policing the elections and called for issue-based campaigns.
However, the Church was saddened that these elections would be held still using archaic and discredited laws following the failure of constitutional reform. The Church, therefore, hoped that whoever won the 2011 elections they would commit themselves to revisit and conclude the constitution-making process.