The Zambian government is planning to create a new department to oversee religious affairs, but some Christian groups fear this will turn Zambia into a theocracy and will ultimately harm freedom of religion, despite the fact that Zambia’s president, Edgar Chagwa Lungu Lungu, appointed a Christian minister to oversee the new department.
The country’s two main Christian groups, the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Council of Churches in Zambia, voiced their opposition to the new department, even though the head of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia, Rev. Pukuta Mwanza, welcomed it.
“In view of the various financial and economic challenges our country is currently facing, we neither see the creation of the said ministry as a top priority nor a prudent decision. After all, we believe that Zambians want their country to be a democracy rather than a theocracy,” said a statement from the Christian groups.
The statement added that the Church does not derive its authority from government, but from God:
“At the same time,” the statement concluded, “we commit ourselves to continue being credible and reliable instruments for promoting a culture of dialogue, reconciliation, justice, unity, development, respect for divergent views and peace in Zambia.”