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 2009-08-11 04:38 pm Back to NEWS
Catholics react to genocide charges

CATHOLIC Diocese of Ndola treasurer general Father Augustine Mwewa has said information minister Ronnie Shikapwasha does not deserve to be chief government spokesman because he is shallow. And UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema yesterday said Shikapwasha's attack on the Catholic Church is close to foolishness.

Commentingon Shikapwasha's ministerial statement to Parliament last Friday where he attacked the Catholic Church and The Post, Fr Mwewa described Shikapwasha as being shallow and put him in the category of pigs if it was in the situation of Animal Farm because he was enjoying.

"General Shikapwasha belongs to the category of pigs if it was in the situation of Animal Farm because he is enjoying and the people who are toiling for the nation are not getting what they deserve. How many people have worked and have not gotten their pension? We are being beaten by cadres before the police and before the President," Fr Mwewa said. "He has shown me how shallow he is. He doesn't deserve to be where he is."

Fr Mwewa said it was wrong for Shikapwasha to use the genocide in Rwanda as an example in Zambia and accuse the Catholic Church of complicity in the massacre.

"Does he understand the history of the genocide in Rwanda? The Catholic Church did not promote the genocide in Rwanda," Fr Mwewa said. "In fact, it is politicians like him who manipulated the situation in Rwanda based on ethnic lines and Catholic priests and many members were killed in the genocide in Rwanda."

Fr Mwewa said the manner MMD cadres were beating up journalists and other people in Zambia was potentially a Rwanda case as the ruling party orchestrated violence while authorities sat by.

He said it was wrong for the Speaker of the National Assembly Amusaa Mwanamwambwa to have allowed a chief government spokesman to make remarks that could injure relations between Zambia and Rwanda.

Fr Mwewa said the Catholic Church and The Post stood for justice, denounced evil and that Shikapwasha would not manage to stop them from speaking the truth.

"The Post don't insult," Fr Mwewa said. "When you talk about the truth, even John the Baptist brought out the truth when he told Herold that, 'that is wrong, that woman is not your wife' and the concubine made sure he was beheaded. Gen Shikapwasha is trying to curtail the voice of The Post and the Catholic Church; he'll never succeed."

Fr Mwewa said Shikapwasha should apologise for the remarks he made and quit his position as information minister or President Rupiah Banda should discipline him.

Shikapwasha last Friday accused the Church of being busy trying to jostle for who they should put into State House forgetting their mandate. He also said the Church in Rwanda took sides with newspapers and radio stations which were fanning out falsehoods and propaganda that led to the genocide.

And Hichilema said the current MMD government was senseless.

"What Shikapwasha is doing is unacceptable. MMD is busy throwing its weight around. To accuse the Catholic Church just shows how ignorant Shikapwasha is because Catholics are doing a lot of work. These guys live in wonderland. What Shikapwasha said about Catholics is close to foolishness," Hichilema said. "We know what happened in Rwanda but there is nothing like that in Zambia. Shikapwasha is even supposed to be a reverend, he must respect the church. Sometimes I think that we must pray to God that he deregisters people like Shikapwasha because he is not fit to be a reverend."

On Friday, Lt Gen Shikapwasha told Parliament in a ministerial statement that the church was busy trying to jostle for who they should put into State House, forgetting their mandate. He said the church in Rwanda took sides with newspapers and radio stations, which were fanning out falsehoods and propaganda that led to the genocide.

"The church blindly took sides in opposing camps such that it is reported Mr Speaker that 'after a century of Christian proselytisation the country was catholicised but not Christianised. Ritual was generally followed but the spirit was missing. This became tragically evident for the church, only after April to May 1994, when its people slaughtered their brethren wholesale inside the churches on orders from civil authorities and priests. This, Mr Speaker, is because the church took sides with men. The church must take sides with God," Shikapwasha said. "I see that the church in Zambia is taking sides with man rather than taking sides with God. We see the church in Zambia taking no stand against the things that God abhors. Where is the church when the newspaper is insulting the Head of State? Where is the church when young men are insulting old men? Is it not the church to reconcile God's people in the country? ... Others are dishing out second hand clothing in the campaign for the pact. Others feel if a person does not belong to a certain political party, they are not Christian enough. Mr Speaker, all this used to happen in Rwanda before the genocide.

"The church failed in Rwanda, 25 priests have so far been imprisoned for genocide. The church in Zambia must learn from the lessons in Rwanda, the Spirit of God must rule in the lives of people. If there is any pact, that one should be packeted with it is Jesus. Therefore, my appeal to the church through you Mr Speaker and through this August House is seek ye first the Kingdom of God and Zambia shall be saved from calamities." 

Shikapwasha also justified violence against journalists by MMD cadres, saying President Banda's supporters demanded that the President be given due respect by The Post. He said in Rwanda the media was abused.

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