Christian identity in draft constitution
The country has powerful church mother bodies, which are very vocal on many religious and governance issues. These religious bodies, such as the Council of churches in Zambia, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambian and the Zambia Episcopal Conference, do often influence public policy and have a large say in many legal and social issues. A favorite form of influence is the issuance of periodic pastoral letters, which guide their followers on various issues.
With the release of the draft constitution, Zambians now have 40 days in which to read and submit comments on the draft constitution.
Thereafter, a Technical Committee appointed by President Michael Sata is expected to produce the final constitution in September this year before the document is subjected to a referendum and later enacted into law by Parliament.
Meanwhile, various interest groups have welcomed the first draft constitution’s declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation.
Chairperson of the influential Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) Michael Gondwe welcomed the draft constitution saying the government should maintain all the clauses since Zambians want them.
Reverend Gondwe told a local radio station recently that in the past, politicians had the tendency of changing clauses in the final constitution and it was his hope that the current government does not do so to the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation.
He added that the church was in support of the draft constitution and that its members will rally behind it if it is not tempered with.
The CCZ is a coalition of churches which speaks on behalf of its members on various issues such as governance, faith, development and poverty. CCZ is expected to gather all its 22 member churches in Lusaka where they will analyse the document article by article.
And Vice President of the worldwide Seventh-Day Adventist Church Dr Pardon Mwansa says the inclusion of the Christian-nation clause will help reduce the evils that have continued affecting the nation.
Speaking during a live interview on Zambia’s state television, the Washington-based clergyman said maintaining the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation will also contribute to the improvement in morals in the country.
Paul Shalala is a TV journalist and blogger based in Lusaka, Zambia. He attended a “Conference on Reporting Religion” organized by The Media Project in 2011