Monday, May 6, 2013

Give PF more time to deliver-Fr Luonde

ANGLICAN priest Richard Luonde has called on Zambians to give PF Government time for it to deliver on its campaign promises.
And Fr Luonde said that he won’t to be a political ally to blunt priest Father Frank Bwalya because he wants to continue in God’s ministry.
Fr Fr Luonde of Saint Peter’s Chimwemwe congregation in Kitwe said the PF had only been in power for fewer years hence the need to give them more time.
He said this in Kitwe yesterday during a press briefing held at his residence in Chimwemwe Township aimed at stating his relationship with Fr Bwalya following his announced intentions to form a political party.
He cautioned Zambians to be wary with some leaders of opposition party, which if not carefully checked would end up destroying the nation by promoting hatred and tribalism.
The Anglican priest cited a threat letter allegedly written to him by a United Party for National development (UPND) north-western official, which contained tribal remarks singling out people of the province from the rest of the country, said such conduct if entertained would divide Zambia into tribal.
And Fr Luonde said he had no intention of abandoning his calling of that of a clergyman with the view to jumping on Fr Bwalya’s political bandwagon.
He said he had neither been consulted nor communicated to by Fr Bwalya on his intentions to form a political party and so it was difficult for him to know the motive behind the formation of the party.
“I have received a lot of phone calls from Zambian 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 intentions to form a political party as this was his constitution 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 fulfill its campaign promises especially that it still had three more years to go before the current PF mandate expires.
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 the priest, it was his role to criticize social ills affecting ordinary people like former employees of the two companies.
He dismissed insinuations of him being bitter with Government on grounds that he had not been promptly rewarded for the support they rendered during the campaigns saying to the contrary, he remained in good books with President Michael Sata whom he described as being receptive, each time he called on the Head of State at State House.

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