President Edgar Lungu has called on the church to get involved and take the lead in the implementation of the Plant a Million Trees Initiative and Keep Zambia Clean, Green, and Healthy campaign.
The Head of State said the Catholic Church is well positioned to encourage other churches and citizens to implement the two programmes because of its resolve to care for the environment as espoused in the 2018 theme for Lusaka Archdiocese.
ZANIS reports that President Lungu was speaking when he attended mass at St. Mary Assumption Parish in Chilanga district.
The Head of State said both government and the church believe in the same principles and values of saving the environment hence the need to partner in order to achieve the goal of safeguarding the environment and keeping communities clean and healthy.
“Why can’t the Roman Catholic Church take over my call to keep Zambia clean, that’s what you are talking about there” said President Lungu as he referred to the Church’s 2018 theme of Care for the environment.
He regretted that the heavy political saturation in the country drowns even the best intentions and practices from government leaders as they are labelled political even when they are supposed to benefit the Church and citizens.
President Lungu assured that the church will always remain an ally of government to bring about sustained improvement in the welfare of citizens.
The President urged the Church to continue praying for politicians to drive away seeds of discord and any prevailing misunderstandings so that ordinary Zambians do not suffer at the expense of selfish politicians.
President Lungu also called on the Church to take its position and provide guidance in the national dialogue process.
He said political parties and stakeholders stalling the dialogue process and preventing the church’s participation should be left alone so that those interested can sit and talk about building and promoting peace in the country.
The President stressed that he had not come to St. May Assumption Parish in Chilanga to campaign but fulfill a long-standing appointment with the parish and pray with the parishioners.
He said he will go back to Chilanga to campaign for PF Candidate Maria Langa at an appropriate time
And Parish Priest Godfrey Mashilipa paid tribute to President Lungu for calling for a violence-free campaign in the forthcoming Chilanga by-election.
Fr. Mashilipa said he was impressed by President Lungu directing his ministers to ensure that the PF abstains from violence and prevail on other political players to desist from fighting.
The Catholic Priest said President Lungu’s call for violence-free campaigns demonstrates a desire to promote peace and unity in the country.
Fr. Mashilipa appealed to politicians to be good role models to youths and desist from using them to fan violence in the country, especially during political campaigns.
He urged political leaders aspiring to higher office to respect those in power and desist from insulting and ridiculing the office of Presidency.
Fr. Mashilipa counseled President Lungu not to get distracted by people criticizing him and his leadership but instead focus on governing the country in order to improve the welfare of Zambians.
He further called on Zambians to exercise self-discipline by not engaging in corrupt practices and abuse of public resources if the country is to develop.