Congregants at Regiment Parish Catholic Church in Chilenje have alleged that Kabwata Member of Parliament Given Lubinda is trying to use the worshippers to gain political sympathy.
During random interviews, the congregants said Lubinda had become a committed church member and staunch Christian after being hounded out of his ministerial position by Michael Sata last year.
In 2013, Lubinda was sacked from the cabinet after an expose that the Kabwata parliamentarian was a traitor who was involved in sharing party information with outsiders. Many PF members and his colleagues on government distanced themselves from Lubinda for fear of being associated with the charges that had been slapped on him.
One of the parishioner Siloni Jere said Lubinda was never at church during his peak as cabinet minister when the Patriotic Front (PF) assumed government in 2011.
“Mr Given Lubinda is now a frequent church member. He actually spends most of his time at Regiment where he is seen interacting with people from all walks of life. But people have nmot forgotten that he is a politician, who not long ago was at helm of leadership which was criticizing the same people he ios pretending to be fond of. He must not think that the people will be used for his political future. That trick will not work because the people are now more alert than ever,” he said.
Another parishioner at Regiment, which is also known as saint Charles Lwanga Parish Gabriel Makasa said Given Lubinda was welcome to pray with the people in his constituency, but the timing of his sudden commitment to Christianity raised so much curiosity because it came just after the embattled parliamentarian was ostracized from his party after being accused of pilfering party secrets.
He said Lubinda was a known catholic, but he had no time for his people and he never attended church.
Makasa said many people were thinking Given Lubinda’s sudden commitment to the church was for political expediency after his torment in the PF where his friends and party compartriots deserted him.
“As Christians, we always welcome people including politicians. This is the house of God and no one is chased based on their political affiliation. Actually, there are many politicians in our church, but it would be disappointing if Mr Lubinda is here for convenience. The only problem Mr Lubinda is that of trust because he is coming from a party and government that no one trusts anymore,” he said.
Makasa said it was elating that Lubinda had turned to God adding that Lubinda must repend and become a true Christian.
For sometime now, Given Lubinda has shown unprecedented commitment at saint Charles Lwanga where he attends the first morning mass everyday on Sunday. He is often seen shaking hands and interacting with common people, a thing he rarely did when he was in government.
So far, Lubinda has enrolled and is taking baptism lessons at Regiment Parish where he is expected to be baptized soon.
But Lubinda said he had been congregating at Regiment even before he became minister. Lubinda said people talking about his meetings at Regiment Parish were being malicious.