THREE decades ago Zambia was declared a Christian Nation and adherence to the principles and values are still being pursued.
National Guidance and Religious Affairs Minister the Hon. Rev. Mrs Godfridah Sumaili has stated that the church has a huge role of taking care of the welfare of the community not only spiritually but also physically hence the need for the Church to be empowered.
In 1991, Second Republican President Frederick Chiluba declared Zambia as a Christian nation shortly after taking up office.
During his tenure as President, Dr Chiluba established a Religious Affairs desk at State House in a bid to entrench Christian values in Government operations and the country as a whole.
Michael Sata, just after winning the Presidency in 2011, declared that he was going to rule the country by the 10 Commandments.
President Edgar Lungu in upholding the declaration and entrenching Christian values has made it part of the national agenda and further went on to declare October 18 as a National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation; a day set aside for the country to seek God’s intervention in its affairs.
In making the oath at State House President Chiluba said: “On behalf of the nation, I have now entered into a covenant with the living God and, therefore, I want to make the following declaration. I say here today that I submit myself as President to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
I likewise submit the government and the entire nation of Zambia to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I further declare that Zambia is a Christian nation that will seek to be governed by the righteous principles of the word of God. Righteousness and justice must prevail in all levels of authority and we shall see the righteousness of God exalting Zambia. My fellow Zambians, let this message reach all civil servants in all government departments. The time of corruption and bribery is over. For too long these wicked practices have been destroying and tearing down the nation. Now the hour has come for our building up. The hour has come for our stability. Proverbs 29:4 declares: “He who is greedy for bribes tears down a nation, but by justice a king gives the country stability.”
Money is said to be the root of all evil and money has undoubtedly been at the core of most crimes we see.
However, in empowering citizens and the church it is hoped that more people will be motivated to take up entrepreneurship as opposed to theft or corruption.
Speaking at the launch of the Empowerment Scheme for the Church and Religious and Faith Based Organisations at Government Complex recently, the Religious Affairs minister reminded church leaders to contribute towards upholding Christian values in the community.
Reverend Sumaili called on the church to demonstrate the highest levels of integrity, accountability and trust as they access the empowerment scheme being rolled out by government.
The event was attended by church leaders from across the 10 provinces of Zambia.
Reverend Sumaili announced that the empowerment fund was a fulfillment of the promise made to the church by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu at a meeting with the clergy held in Ndola in November last year.
She said Government is committed to uplift the living standards of all citizens, leaving no one behind, the church included.
She expressed profound appreciation on behalf of Government for the many ways in which the church has continued to supplement government’s efforts in providing services aimed at eradicating poverty in communities which is why government would work to empower the churches alongside other sectors.
Adding that the church and Religious and Faith-based organisations are better placed to undertake outreach programmes because of structures they have rooted in the communities.
The Religious Affairs Minister acknowledged that the church has been hard hit with the advent of Covid-19 and hence the need for government to move in and provide relief measures to help mitigate the impact of the disease on the church and Faith Based Organisations.
She stated that K25 million had been released and urged the churches to immediately begin applying to be considered for the empowerment package which would be disbursed in form of a revolving fund.
The church plays a pivotal role in our communities and it is only right that they too participate in Government’s development agenda of promoting entrepreneurship.
In light of the General Elections scheduled for 21 August 2021, the temptation of easy money will surely rear its head, especially with the effects of the Coovid-19 pandemic raging.
We expect the church to remain above board and objective when commenting on the political arena and we expect the church to objectively guide their flock away from wrong doings.
Jesus Annointed Ministries International Bishop Billy Mfula says in the run up to the elections in August, the church will embark on a series of prayers for peaceful, free and fair elections.
Bishop Mfula stated that prayers will be conducted between 05:00 and 06:00hrs every morning on various streets across the nation for peace to prevail before, during and after elections.
The Bishop said this at the launch of the Church and Religious and Faith Based Organisations Empowerment Scheme launched this morning at the Government Complex by Religious Affairs and National Guidance Minister the Hon. Rev. Mrs Godfridah Sumaili.
Indeed, we expect the church to pray for the nation, just as we expect citizens to abide by the Christian Nation declaration.