In a press statement released on the 30th of May 2023, Bishop John Mambo, founder of the Chikondi Foundation, has called for a national conversation characterized by sobriety and respect. The Bishop commended His Royal Highness Senior Chief Dr. Chisunka, the Chairperson of the House of Chiefs, for offering wise counsel to religious leaders regarding the need for dialogue in addressing national issues.
Highlighting the importance of unity and respect for dialogue, Bishop Mambo quoted Colossians 4:6, which emphasizes the need for conversations filled with grace and wisdom. He expressed his concern over the confrontational approach adopted by Archbishop Alick Banda, a fellow Catholic leader, particularly in his dealings with President Hakainde Hichilema.
Bishop Mambo acknowledged that addressing the current issues of hunger and poverty required addressing past instances of treasury looting and reckless borrowing that have led to a debt trap. He argued that failing to question past tragedies, such as the incidents of gassing that claimed innocent lives, or the fatal shooting of Nsama Nsama and Joseph Kaunda, undermines the credibility of those who adopt combative and acidic attitudes now.
Refuting the notion that Archbishop Banda’s opinions represent the stance of the Catholic Church, Bishop Mambo highlighted the Archbishop’s silence during atrocities, human rights abuses, and rampant corruption in the previous regime. He asserted that the Archbishop’s failure to condemn such acts did not reflect the position of the Catholic Church.
In light of these concerns, Bishop Mambo urged Archbishop Banda and Fr. Sangaleta to seek dialogue with President Hakainde Hichilema. Additionally, he offered his assistance in facilitating their engagement with the President.
Bishop John Mambo’s statement serves as a call for a more respectful and constructive national conversation. It emphasizes the importance of addressing past issues and engaging in dialogue to find solutions to the challenges facing the nation.