Zambia’s bishops decry ‘political hooliganism,’ warn priests against partisanship
February 08, 2016
Decrying “political hooliganism” and repression, Zambia’s bishops recently issued a statement surveying the state of the nation as elections approach in August.
“The political culture that persistently clouds our election does not depict a maturing democracy and maturing democrats,” they wrote. “Zambian politicians still suffer from a gross hangover of a one-party state mentality where the essence of political competition was seen as the quest to annihilate their opponents completely and at all cost.”
“We call upon our fellow Church leaders to remain non-partisan yet vigilant,” they continued, adding:
Likewise, we appeal particularly to our own Catholic priests to remain non-partisan. The Church law is very clear on this. It is morally wrong for the Catholic priest to use the pulpit to campaign for, or de-campaign any political party or parties. In as much as we welcome Catholic politicians to celebrate Mass with us, they must not give them any platform to speak during liturgical celebrations.
The bishops also lamented growing poverty and said that “some multinational companies are indiscriminately using our natural resources to satisfy the markets, leaving behind great human and environmental liabilities such as the depletion of natural resources, pollution and deforestation.”
The nation of 16.2 million is approximately two-thirds Protestant and one-third Catholic.