NDC urges govt, Catholic duo to end ‘war of words’
By Oliver Chisenga
THE National Democratic Congress (NDC) says the current “war of words” between the UPND government and two prominent Catholic Church leaders must not be entertained.
NDC leader George Sichula described the recent exchange of coarse language as “not good” for the country.
Sichula was commenting on statements by Lusaka Diocese Archbishop Alick Banda and Chawama priest Anthony Salangeta that have riled members of the ruling party.
Two weeks ago, Fr Salangeta during a sermon took issue with President Hakainde Hichilema’s decision during a press conference to use graphs and statistics to illustrate the performance of Zambia’s economy, saying people needed food instead of graphs.
After President Hichilema responded to the criticism by branding the two priests as jokers, Bishop Banda said the Head of State was in fact a liar.
Some in the UPND have since declared to regard Bishop Banda and Fr Salangeta as political opponents.
Sichula however called for an end to the feuf, saying the government is working hard to restore the economy for the benefit of all citizens.
“We can’t continue on this trajectory as a country. This war of words must be halted,” Sichula said. “We feel that this battle between the UPND Government and the Catholic Church must not be entertained. This is not good for a country’s development. There is no harm by the President using a graph to explain his case.”
He said those who had difficulties understanding and interpreting graphs must accept that there were other people who had no such challenges.
Sichula called on critics to allow President Hichilema work in line with what was promised to the Zambian people.
“Let us give chance to our colleagues to work, unlike moving in economic circles while singing political songs. Not long ago, Zambians were calling for president ECL [Edgar Chagwa Lungu] … to address the people concerning national matters,” he said. “Some called him a coward while some thought he was camera shy. Today we have a President who wants to interact with the people to update them on the current happenings. Indeed, one singer by the name of Chibesa … sang one popular song ‘Takwaba icisuma kubantu’.”
He further said Zambia was blessed to have a President who is unique, energetic and hard working.
“Every President that comes is very special and must be given chance to govern,” said Sichula.