Fr Luonde distances himself from Father Bwalya

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ANGLICAN priest Richard Luonde says he can never be an ally of outspoken cleric Father Frank Bwalya because he wants to continue serving in God’s ministry.
Fr Luonde is a member of ‘Get Involved Zambia’ whose executive director is Fr Bwalya.
Fr Luonde of Saint Peter’s Chimwemwe congregation in Kitwe said he cannot abandon his calling as a clergyman with the view to jumping on Fr Bwalya’s political bandwagon.
He said this in Kitwe yesterday during a media briefing at which he distanced himself from Fr Bwalya following his intention to form a political party.
“I have received a lot of phone calls from Zambians asking me if I am joining politics and whether I am going to be with Fr Bwalya who as you know is the spokesperson and executive director of our organisation ‘Get Involved Zambia’.
“My position is no. I am not joining politics because my calling is priesthood and being a priest, I will endeavour to defend the rights of Zambians that way,” he said.
Fr Luonde said while he welcomed Fr Bwalya’s intention to form a political party as this was his constitutional right, his support for the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) had not changed.
This was because he felt there were still other avenues to be explored in getting Government to fulfil its campaign promises especially that it still had there were three more years before the current PF mandate expired.
When asked what he would do if Fr Bwalya should decide to turn Get Involved Zambia into a political party, Fr Luonde said he would be left with no option but to leave the organisation.
The Anglican priest said his comments on some of issues such as the Mpelembe Drilling Company and former United Bus of Zambia (UBZ) should not suggest he was turning into a politician because as a priest, it was his role to criticize social ills.
He dismissed insinuations that he was bitter with Government on grounds that he had not been rewarded for the support he rendered during the campaigns, saying to the contrary, he had remained in good books with President Michael Sata whom he described as being receptive, each time he called on him at State House.
Meanwhile, Fr Luonde cautioned Zambians to be wary of some leaders of opposition party parties, who if not carefully checked would end up destroying the country by promoting hatred and tribalism