Zambia: Respect Law, Churches Urged

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NATIONAL Guidance and Religious Affairs Minister Godfridah Sumaili has called on church mother bodies to respect and comply with the Statutory Instrument (SI) issued by the Ministry of Health in light of the cholera outbreak.

Reverend Sumaili said following a meeting with church mother bodies, it was agreed that the church would sensitise their members on cholera and the precautions to take.

The minister further said it was agreed that churches would keep their surroundings clean and volunteer to mobilise households in the churches’ catchment areas to clean them up.

Meanwhile, Rev Sumaili has called on the church to pray over the problem and that physical cleaning implies the need to clean the nation spiritually through repentance and turning from evil acts.

Local Government Minister Vincent Mwale has clarified that the Government has not banned praying but congregating.

Mr Mwale said he was compelled to clarify the misconception that the Government had banned churches from congregating in both the epicentre of the cholera epidemic and in other areas while the ban of bars from operating in the epicentre with only a partial one which is from 11 to 19 hours in other areas.

“We as Christians are encouraged to pray from our homes or wherever we may be comfortable as individuals. In fact, we need more prayers now than ever before; we need God’s strength, comfort and grace as we fight this epidemic,” the minister said.

Mr Mwale said the Government had allowed bars in some areas to open from 11 to 19:00 hours, based on a belief that was anchored on keeping the wheels of the economy running while intensifying inspections to ensure hygiene standards were upped or at least maintained.

“We take cognisance of the fact that manufacturers, distributors, retailers all have financial obligations such as salaries, rentals, taxes etc to meet even in times like this. We are definitely not in any way going to compromise the health of our citizens even as we try and ensure their economic safety,” Mr Mwale said.

He said the decisions would be reviewed after seven days and that should the epidemic spin out of control, the Government would impose a complete ban and preserve citizens’ precious lives at all cost.

Mr Mwale added that the Government had similarly allowed controlled selling of vegetables and fruits to ensure farmers with hundreds of boxes of ready-to-sale tomatoes and cabbages, among other things, did not completely lose out due to their perishables, and rotting for lack of markets.

Mr Mwale said the Government would continue to engage citizens as they lead processes that were coming up with immediate, medium-term and long-term solutions to mitigate the impact of the epidemic and ultimately eradicate cholera from Zambian homes.

He said that every Zambian life counted and together the country could fight cholera.

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