Zambian President, Edgar Chagwa Lungu has held what State House described as a very successful meeting with Representatives of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) led by its President Archbishop Telesphore George Mpundu, with a clarion call to Government and the Church to have constant dialogue and collaboration on matters affecting the nation.
According to a statement released to the media by State House Press Aide, Amos Chanda, President Lungu underscored the need for constant dialogue and collaboration between Government and the Church on issues pertaining to the welfare of the nation and pledged commitment to closely work with the Church to uplift the welfare of the Zambian people.
The President also acknowledged the need for clear separation between Government and the Church.
At the meeting held at State House Friday, the President also expressed concern at the manifestation of tribalism in society and emphasised the need for Government and the Church to work together to address the challenge.
The President has also directed that the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs must work together with the Ministry of General Education on how best the issue of tribalism can be incorporated in the education system.
“Tribalism has become a huge challenge. There is need for the Church to work together with Government to address this issue.’’
The President has also hailed the efforts that the Catholic Church has continued to make in promoting education and health in the country and pledged that the appeal by the Church towards the development of the Catholic University in Kalulushi District on the Copperbelt Province will be looked into.
The President assured the Bishops that the Minister of Health will be tasked to look into the longstanding issue of remuneration for Classified Employees working in Catholic Hospitals because Government was committed to ensuring that those in employment were fairly remunerated.
President Lungu also assured the Bishops that he was committed to forging the country’s socio-economic development forward hence he was doing everything possible that this was achieved.
The President was accompanied to the meeting by Presidential Affairs Minister, Freedom Sikazwe and Rev. Godfridah Sumaili, Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs.
And the ZCCB President, Archbishop Telesphore George Mpundu who is also the Archbishop of Lusaka congratulated the President for his electoral victory in the 11 August 2016, general elections and wished him and the Cabinet God’s blessings as they serve the nation.
Archbishop Mpundu echoed President Lungu’s sentiments on the need for the Church and Government to work closely.
On tribalism, Archbishop Mpundu equally expressed concern saying tribalism was a reality which must not be ignored, and encouraged the President not to relent in his efforts to denounce and fight the vice in order to promote coexistence and national building.
On education, Archbishop Mpundu pledged that the Catholic Church will continue to supplement the efforts of Government in the education sector because of its commitment to Zambia’s future.
The ZCCB also expressed appreciation to the President in the manner that he is forging national development.
Other Bishops who attended the meeting include ZCCB Vice-President and Bishop of Ndola, Dr Alick Banda, Bishop George Lungu of Chipata, Bishop Charles Kasonde of Solwezi, Bishop Justin Mulenga of Mpika and Bishop Valentine Kalumba of Livingstone.