A theological critique of the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation and the response of the Roman Catholic Church from 1991-2001.
This study utilizes theological reflection as a framework to critically engage President Chiluba’s declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation. It explores political and religious factors within the Zambian society that influenced the decision and how it affected the nation from 1991 to 2001. It argues that Frederick Chiluba declared the nation of Zambia to be Christian because of his political and religious convictions that emerged in the 1980s when he embraced a conservative understanding of the Christian faith. Chiluba consistently utilized religious language in his numerous speeches. For instance, when he spoke on behalf of the labour movement (ZCTU), during his speeches in opposition to the former President, Kenneth Kaunda’s one-party rule system, and especially during his campaign when he ran for the office of President of the Republic of Zambia in 1991. The study argues that the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation in 1991 led to several conflicts among the following ecumenical Church organisations: the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) and the Episcopal Conference of Zambia representing the Roman Catholic Church. Disunity existed among Zambian Christians because of dissensions among these three organisations. The Roman Catholic Church, the CCZ, as well as some Evangelical groups supported the declaration but maintained that there should have been a general public consultation before the declaration was embodied in the constitution as the democratic nature of good governance requires that the people are consulted before major constitutional changes are made. The research methodology employed is based on two non-empirical perspectives, namely, a critical literature review and content analysis. The literature review component clarifies and elaborates on various angles of the study using secondary textual data analysis. Content analysis is used for analysing themes that have been identified in the thesis. In conclusion, the study argues that the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation by Frederick Chiluba was rooted more in achieving a political agenda than any religious objectives. Chiluba’s modus operandi was to move the country away from Kenneth Kaunda’s brand of socialism and humanism, and reposition Zambia within the political and economic sphere and influence of the West.
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