A pastoral statement has been issued by the three Church Mother Bodies on the occasion of Zambia’s Golden Jubilee. The statement has been issued by the Zambia Episcopal Conference(ZEC), Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) and Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ). It can be read in its entirety on www.catholiczambia.org.zm
The statement is headed by two portions of Scripture:
Thus far the Lord has brought us. 1 Samuel 7:12;
You will declare this 50th Year sacred and proclaim the liberation of all inhabitants of the land. This is to be a Jubilee for you. Leviticus 25:10
In the pastoral statement signed by CCZ President Rev. Dr. Alfred Kalembo, EFZ Chairperson Bishop Joseph Imakando and ZEC President Most Rev. Telesphore Mpundu, they give thanks to the nation’s founding Fathers and Mothers and for the many blessings bestowed upon Zambia including the peace, religious freedom and unity brought about by tribal and ethnic integration in the fairly stable political environment of the past 50 years. They urged all in society to continue working together in order to promote a greater sense of national unity and harmony among Zambians in spite of different political opinions. The churches are also praying that this spirit of tolerance and inclusion to accept divergent views will continue to build our nation and enable it rise to even greater heights. They also appealed for greater responsibility and moral integrity amongst political leaders to ensure honesty and good governance.
The leaders also praised our commitment to the liberation of our neighbours at no small cost to ourselves. They stressed the importance of Human Rights and dignity for all. Continued investment in the social sectors was fundamental and while economic gains had been made from exploiting our natural resources, there are still unacceptably high levels of poverty in Zambia, with greater development taking place in urban areas at the expense of the rural areas. The leaders say that care should be taken regarding increasing Government debt, so that Zambia does not lose what it gained from debt forgiveness and gets caught again in another debt trap.
The continuing controversy over Barotseland Agreement needs to be addressed and a lasting solution found to the problem. All sides were urged to eschew violence, intimidation or force to achieve their objectives. A spirit of dialogue should be embraced but law and order should be maintained with due diligence. Western Province had been marginalized in its development so the GRZ had a duty to continue to bring about further development.
All these are moral injustices to be addressed and the celebration of a Golden Jubilee means that time has come to restore equality amongst our people and so the Jubilee should be a time to restructure the country’s political, social, economic and cultural systems and structures and further put in place ones that will promote social and economic justice as well as the common good for all Zambians.
Finally the Church Leaders reiterated their joint Jubilee 2000 Pastoral letter’s message by once again calling for responsibility, transparency, accountability and prudence for the sake of the future generations.