Lusaka Times: The SDA Church in Zambia has defended President Hakainde Hichilema for meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican last week.
In a statement released to the media, the Church also clarified that the purported SDA Pastor who went viral on social media, condemning the visit, is no longer a member of the church.
The joint statement by the two Presidents of the governing bodies of the SDA Church in Zambia said that the man ceased to be a member of the church due to his extremist views and criticism of the church.
And Government has said that it is concerned with remarks by some members of the public on social media platforms criticizing the President’s recent meeting with the Pope at the Vatican.
Chief Government Spokesperson Chushi Kasanda said that the remarks are unfair and unwarranted.
Ms. Kasanda stressed that President Hakainde Hichilema did not visit the Vatican as an Adventist but as a Head of State whose citizens belong to various religious persuasions including Catholics.
She says President Hichilema is a President for all Zambians, who belong to different denominations.
Ms. Kasanda, who is also Information and Media Minister, says the President has a duty to promote religious liberties of all the citizens of Zambia.
She said that government also wished to state that the President did not travel to the Vatican on a religious mission but on a diplomatic mission to strengthen relations that have existed between Zambia and the Vatican and the footprint of these relations are visible in any sectors key among them education and health.
In a statement to the media, Ms. Kasanda said a lot of Catholic schools and hospitals dotted in the remotest parts of the country are touching many lives.
She said the President and the people of Zambia at large appreciate these facilities that the Catholic Church has continued to provide for the benefit of the people of Zambia hence the visit to the Vatican.
Ms. Kasanda said the President’s visit to the Vatican comes against a backdrop of Government’s re-introduction of free education in which the Catholics continue to play a key role especially in the lives of the disadvantaged children in the rural parts of Zambia.
She said under the leadership of President Hichilema, Christian values and principles remain well entrenched and supportive of diverse religious beliefs as provided for in the constitution.
Ms. Kasanda said President Hichilema swore to uphold the constitution which includes religious liberties.
She, therefore, said the remarks by some members of the public are a gross mis-information and misrepresentation of the President’s meeting with the Pope.
Meanwhile, Ms. Kasanda said government wishes to reiterate that President Hichilema did not hold any meeting to discuss gay rights during his visit to the United States of America in September last year.
She said Zambia is a Christian nation and, therefore, gay rights have no place in this nation.
Ms. Kasanda said the Constitution is clear on issues of gay rights which are outlawed in the country.
She said the continued allegations on this matter are malicious and unfounded and urged members of the public to ignore these allegations.
“The Sunday movement is now making its way in darkness. The leaders are concealing the true issue, and many who unite in the movement do not themselves see whither the undercurrent is tending…. They are working in blindness. They do not see that if a Protestant government sacrifices the principles that have made them a free, independent nation, and through legislation brings into the Constitution principles that will propagate papal falsehood and papal delusion, they are plunging into the Roman horrors of the Dark Ages. The Review and Herald Extra, December 11, 1888.” Last Day Events, page 125.3.