CHIPATA Catholic Bishop George Lungu has urged the Government to seriously consider revoking the deportation of Lundazi Catholic Priest Viateur Banyangadora for the the sake of unity.
Fr Banyangadora, 40, a priest of Rwandanese origin was last week on Monday picked up by a combined team of security wings from his residence in connection with the sermon he delivered on Sunday which was allegedly seen to have been in the spirit of inciting people to rise against the Government.
The clergy was later transferred to Lusaka for further interrogations.
Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu announced on Wednesday that Fr Banyangadora, who was a holder of employment Permit No 008955, was deported to Rwanda because he was found to be a danger to the peace and good order, contrary to Section 39(2) of the immigration and Deportation Act No 18 of 2010.
In his official statement that was aired live on Radio Maria in Chipata yesterday by Chipata Diocese Auxiliary Bishop Benjamin Phiri, Bishop Lungu said the Catholic Church was deeply saddened with the deportation of their clergyman.
Bishop Lungu said the Government grossly violated human and constitutional rights of their clergy despite him being in possession of a Rwandanse passport.
The Bishop said the deported priest was merely exercising his prophetic duty as a shepherd of the people by speaking for the poor in his parish.
He said Fr Banyangadora was traumatised during his alleged abduction and was kept in a secret place for four days during which period he was also denied legal representation.
He wondered whether the deported priest who had a diabetic condition was availed with medication during his 'abduction.'
Bishop Lungu said the church was also saddened with what he termed as "the blackout of information from the Government" during the four days that the clergy was kept in seclusion.
"What crime of the pulpit did Fr Banyangadora commit to warrant his deportation in this country?" asked Bishop Lungu.
"We urge the Government to seriously consider revoking the deportation order on Fr Banyangadora for the sake of unity. We feel there was gross violation of human and constitution rights in the manner he was deported" he said.
He said the Patriotic Front won last year's election on a popular platform and expected it to be tolerant to people's divergent views.
The bishop who also quoted a scripture from Mathew 10 vs 28 urged other Catholic clergy not to be intimated by the deportation of Fr Banyangadora but to preach the message of hope to the poor.
He urged all Catholics in Zambia to remain calm as the matter was being addressed by both the church and the Government.
Fr Banyangandora was a member of the Association of Zambian Diocesan Catholic Clergy (ADZACC) who came to Zambia as a Catholic seminarian refugee.
He did his seminary formation at Mpima Major Seminary in Kabwe before proceeding to St Mary's Major Seminary in Lusaka for his theology.
He was ordained Catholic Priest under the Chipata diocese in 2004 by Bishop George Lungu.