Sunday, 9 November 2008
CATHOLIC BISHOPS OFFER TO RECONCILE POLITICIANS
Its great to be back (with consistency) on this platform. I acknowledge the gap that was left on this website especially during the ru-up to, during and after the presidential elections.
I spent most of my time in the countryside, following politicians on their campaign trails. My Mobile internet gave up on me and I was left hanging. I was also gripped by fatiq because he work out there was overwhelming. Apltly put, I was incapacitated by my own strength.
I would like to thank all the people who wrote to me asking for updates. I have received numerous or countless e-mails, some of which I am yet to respond to. I thank all the followers who remained loyal even when I was incapacitated. I want to state that thepicturemonger is back and lets continue debating as ever, however, we have to stay alive and be heard!
Today, I want to start with this piece from the Catholic Bishops.
CATHOLIC BISHOPS OFFER TO RECONCILE ZAMBIAN POLITICIANS
THE Roman Catholic bishops in Zambia have pledged to help reconcile political leaders who differed after the October 30 Presidential elections.
The bishops observed that political leaders of various political parties disagreed before and after the elections, but reconciliation was vital to avoid differences based on political affiliation or tribal lines.
Episcopal Conference (ZEC) president Bishop George Lungu (ABOVE) said that political parties needed each other in more ways than one.
Bishop Lungu was speaking during a media briefing in Lusaka. He presented a statement prepared by the ZEC and was based on the Biblical book of Mark 3 verse 24.
He said although Zambians may disagree on many issues they should never give in to hate whether on the basis of political affiliation or along tribal lines.
“In this regard we as the Catholic bishops resolved during the last meeting to be available if needed to facilitate reconciliation between leaders of political parties.
“However we urge various political leaders to come to the discussion table with open minds and sincere hearts,” he said.
Bishop Lungu congratulated Zambians for maintaining peace and order before and after the October 30 presidential elections.
“We take this opportunity to remind all Zambians that the rule of law should always take precedence to guarantee peace in the nation.
“The police and army are not there to imprison us, but they are our brothers and sisters who defend us,” he said.
Catholic bishops were firmly committed to a non-partisan role in politics and had no desire for political office or to influence people to vote in a particular manner.
The Bishops advised government to implement a new constitution before the end of 2009 and that the said constitution should also take care of gaps identified with the death of president Mwanawasa.
Bishop Lungu said the voting pattern in the previous elections had been along partisan, regional and tribal lines and the country appeared to be more divided and polarized than it was before multi-partism was re-introduced in 1991.
The ZEC was also worried about the voter apathy exhibited during the recent presidential election where 1.8 million people participated instead of 3.9 million voters who registered.
He said there should be continuous voter registration because it was meaningless if only few people voted because the power of citizens in relationship to their elected representatives lay in actively participating in elections.
Bishop Lungu further said that the 2009 budget should provide enough funds to facilitate continuous voter registration in order to capture as many eligible voters out of the 12 million people.
He said the credibility of elections should be enhanced so that the security of the state was not in any way threatened adding that there must be an urgent electoral reform to avoid minority presidential victories.
“Since the flouting of electoral procedures and the Electoral Code of Conduct seem to go on with impunity, it is time the perpetrators were brought to book and punished to serve as a deterrent to other potential offenders,” he said.