OPERATION Young Vote executive director Guess Nyirenda says the government should not milk the little that the poor have by asking them to contribute to the construction of a fake church.
On Thursday, Secretary to the Cabinet Rowland Msiska announced the opening of a bank account where members of the public were invited to contribute towards the construction of an interdenominational church to be known as the House of Prayer for All Nations Tabernacle.
In a statement, Dr Msiska said the opening of the account followed the laying of the foundation stone and ground-breaking ceremony of the tabernacle by President Edgar Lungu recently.
But Nyirenda, in an interview, said what the government was doing was nothing but milking the poor of their little resources.
“The idea behind this fake church is to hoodwink people that government is more religious when in fact not. You don’t build a church to show that you are a Christian. You do the right thing; put up the right policies that will help the common person to have a dignified life,” he said.
“You cannot come up with this kind of idea that is just aimed at milking poor people of their little resources under this hard economy. They must be talking about how they can improve people’s livelihood by providing social amenities, not what they are doing. That is lacking focus.”
Nyirenda said the House of Prayer for all Nations Tabernacle to be situated in Woodlands Forest Reserve land on Burma Road in Lusaka was a clear testimony of the government’s misplaced priority.
“If you look at what is happening at UTH, some clinics in the country are bad and those are facilities that require money, not that fake church. Who are they even building it for? There are so many churches around and who are they building it for because everyone in the country has their own church? Catholics have parishes; Pentecostals have church buildings; UCZ have church buildings and our friends SDAs have their own church buildings; so who are they [government] building it for?” he wondered.
“It is not that we don’t want Christianity to grow in this country; we want it to grow but you can’t build a church when people are starving. That is pretence and hypocrisy at its peak.”
Nyirenda said the Tabernacle of All Nations was not in the best interest of the people and God.
“Even God is not happy with what we are doing. He is saying, ‘don’t bring me a sacrifice when you haven’t dealt with the people on the ground; when you haven’t reconciled and when you bring me that sacrifice, it is in vain’,” said Nyirenda.
“In the same vein, you can’t spend so much money on building a church [building] when people are suffering and you think God will be pleased. This church is politicking. Can the President and his people get serious and stop using the name of God in vain! We don’t want God to punish the entire nation because of a few hypocritical politicians.”