The Catholic Church is increasingly becoming critical of the PF government and the reversing of the deportation of Rwandese priest Father Viateur Banyangandora is an attempt to “pour cold water” on a strained relationship.
The Catholic Church supported the PF after branding the MMD dictatorial but were shocked to be among the first victims of President Michael Sata’s intolerance when Fr Banyangandora was deported for delivering a sermon that said the “poor were becoming poorer while the rich were becoming richer.”
This was after farmers in Lundazi complained of poor cotton prices which the PF government was giving a deaf ear. Fr Banyangandora was abducted by intelligence officers and ferried to Lusaka before he was put on an immediate flight to Rwanda.
The development infuriated the opposition, civil society and Catholic Church as it was done without following the due process of the law and against the principles of natural justice.
Yesterday home affairs minister Edgar Lungu said at a press briefing in his office that the revocation of the deportation order followed consultations with various members of the Catholic Church and was in line with “the Bible teachings to forgive one another in the love of Christ.”
However, the development was as a result of pressure from different groups country wide which was accusing the PF government of abusing people’s human rights to freely express themselves.
The half-hearted revocation of the deportation could be noted in Lungu’s warning to members of the clergy to stop giving the PF government checks and balances.
“I further warn those who want to intervene with the running of government while hiding behind religion that the law will catch up with them. I will not take kindly to anyone who uses the name of the church to gain political mileage at the expense of serving the Zambian people,” he said.
Father Banyangadora, 40, who was based at Lundazi Catholic Parish, was deported mid this year for allegedly violating the Laws of Zambia.