President Sata has advised the Roman Catholic Church in Zambia not to be confrontational with government on governance issues as the two are cooperating partners in national development.
In a speech read on his behalf by Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Minister, Harry Kalaba during the Episcopal Consecration and Installation Service of Father Patrick Chisanga as Bishop of Mansa Diocese at Don Bosco premises in Mansa on Friday, President Sata said government and the church must always work together in improving the living standards of the people.
He noted the Catholic Church has done very well in taking care of the people as seen by the provision of the best Secondary Schools in the province including the three mission hospitals, adding that it has achieved huge successes in the health sector as Mansa diocese runs three of the biggest hospitals in the province which he named as Kasaba, Lubwe and St. Paul’s hospitals.
President Sata also noted that government has been partnering with the church in the education sector by sending teachers to the mission schools because running such institutions was not an easy task.
And in his appeal for continued cooperation, President Sata said the PF was a working and listening government which was ready to cooperate with the church and will create an enabling political, social and economic environment necessary to prosper human integral development.
He said the government will ensure that the freedoms enshrined in the bill of rights were enhanced and also protect and safeguard other types of freedoms required to lead a dignified and meaningful human life.
Mr Sata said the church and government have the same constituency and the roles were clear that the church provides the spiritual while Government provides physical aspects of human development.
He advised that the church and government should not appear to be fighting because when two elephants were fighting, it was the grass that suffers.
The Head of State said the church and government should avoid confrontational approach to each other and that when government goes wrong, the church should correct the situation by offering alternatives.
He emphasized that the PF was a listening government and any suggestions on issues of governance would be treated with due consideration.
He said whatever development projects that government was doing for Luapula province, it was also for the benefit of the Diocese of Mansa because the boundaries of the Diocese and the political boundaries of the Province were the same.
Mr Sata has since called for the church and government to unite and work together for the benefit of the people.
And Zambia Episcopal Conference President (ZEC) Ignatius Chama said the Conference has heard through the Press that Government was willing to dialogue with the Church over matters of concern that were raised during the Press conference of January 23, 2014 in Lusaka.
Father Chama said his conference was more than ready to meet government as soon as possible to discuss the issues raised during the conference and others issues of national interest.
He added that the conference strongly believed that it was only through genuine dialogue that critical issues affecting the nation could be resolved amicably.
Speaking at the same function, Bishop Emeritus of Mansa, Aaron Chisha advised government not to let the price of mealie meal go beyond the reach and affordability of the majority Zambian poor because it was a staple food which government should ensure was accessible and affordable by all.
Bishop Chisha called for moral consideration for people responsible for fixing prices not to price mealie meal out of reach as majority Zambians especially children and the poor depend on it more than the rich.
He advised that mealie meal should remain affordable and accessible by the majority poor for survival and government should continue to ensure the commodity remained affordable.