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Open Letter to Elder Hakainde Hichilema

Filed under: Special Comments |
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Dear Elder,

I am writing this letter to you in faith, not representing the church, but as an elder of the larger SDA church in Lusaka and worldwide.

Firstly, I would like to remind you that true faith demands that when we are in positions of influence, especially at the national level, we must develop big hearts filled with forgiveness and reconciliation. Holding onto hurt and unforgiveness can harm the citizens. World leaders like Mandela are celebrated because of their ability to rise above personal hatred and the desire for revenge. These leaders demonstrate extreme tolerance and suppress the thirst for revenge, instead choosing reconciliation and showing love to those who persecuted them. In fact, the Bible, in Matthew 5:43-45, says, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”

As an elder, I expect you, above many other leaders we have, to understand the power of prayer. It was disappointing to hear you describe the day set aside for prayer and reconciliation as useless and fake. Regardless of who chooses the day, we should always take advantage of every opportunity to pray, as encouraged in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

In fact, Martin Luther once said, “God can draw a straight line with a crooked stick.” You cannot continue to reject your faith just because President Lungu chose the day. Whatever motivated President Lungu to set aside this day, let us honor and use it to glorify God for the purpose of reconciliation and forgiveness. If we are to heal as a nation, especially with you as a leader, forgiveness is essential.

Take a lesson from your late brother and predecessor, Levy Mwanawasa. He reconciled with Sata, whom he confessed he had hated because Sata caused him so much pain.

My advice is that when you show love to people who deserve condemnation, they tend to be drawn towards you because they feel indebted to you with gratitude. Mwanawasa did this, to the extent that he called for a National Economic Indaba that brought together all citizens and political parties. This led to another significant event, a National Inter-Party dialogue, to which your party was invited, and you enjoyed the sense of togetherness. This move was chaired and moderated by the Council of Churches and the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops.

My fellow elder, these achievements are well-documented, and we can all acknowledge the successes resulting from such efforts. Your hatred and lack of forgiveness are like a cancer to the nation and will harm us all, including yourself.

If you decide to move past this and start a new political and economic life for Zambia, we will be saved. I understand that the Patriotic Front government may have caused you pain, but we should not repay evil with evil, as the Bible says in Romans 12:17, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Today, I have chosen to refer to scripture extensively because the last time I appealed to you, the two church leaders of our church, the SDA, distanced themselves from me.

Lastly, I urge you, my fellow elder, to embrace the virtue of humility by calling for an Inter-Party Dialogue to be organized by the mother church bodies one week before the National Day of Prayer. This dialogue should spearhead this year’s Reconciliation and Prayer Day and attended by you my fellow elder, president Lungu and all other opposition political party leaders. Thereafter call for a National Economic Indaba which should encompass all stakeholders including all political parties, civil society organizations, youth organisations, business houses etc to transform the nation.

Love Leads And Conquires All.

Your Fellow Elder on Sabbbatical leave

Kelvin Kaunda

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