THE Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) has called for a vibrant opposition that is able to offer constructive criticism on developmental and various national issues.
ZEC secretary general, Cleophas Lungu said in an interview with journalists in Lusaka yesterday that opposition political parties should offer progressive ideas to the Government in a bid to promote peace and national development.
The cleric said the recent killing of a political party member made sad reading and urged political players to be tolerant.
This was in an apparent reference to the killing of a Patriotic Front (PF) member, Menyani Zulu in Rufunsa on Thursday last week.
Father Lungu said the Church would want to see an opposition that was vibrant and able to offer effective checks and balances instead of getting entangled in political squabbles.
"As a Church, it has always been our desire to see that opposition parties in our country become vibrant and offer constructive criticism by providing checks and balances to the Government.
"Opposition parties can play a big role by providing various ideas of development and in this way, they will be able to play a critical role of checks and balances on the Government," he said.
He said opposition parties were important partners of the Government on development and that the Church would always be grateful to see the parties work in the spirit of togetherness.
On violence, Fr Lungu said political leaders should educate their members on the need to co-exist as opposed to engaging in acts of violence, particularly during elections.
Fr Lungu said the Church was concerned with increased cases of political violence perpetrated by some party members, who should instead be focusing on real issues to foster peace and development.
He said the Church would love to see political leaders provide effective guidance to their members to respect everybody including those from different political parties.
"Zambia is known to be a haven of peace and people shouldn't engage in violence because such small things can make us lose the credibility we have been known for," he said.