CATHOLIC Priest Father Viateur Banyangandora is willing to come back to serve the Zambian people after his deportation to Rwanda was revoked, Chipata Catholic Diocese Auxiliary Bishop Benjamin Phiri has said.
Meanwhile, Bishop Banda has commended the Government for reversing the deportation of Fr Banyangandora, who was based in Lundazi.
He was speaking when newly-appointed Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Emmanuel Mwamba paid a courtesy call on him yesterday at his residence.
Bishop Phiri indicated that the priest was willing to come back to serve the people in Chipata Catholic Diocese.
Bishop Phiri said although Fr Banyangandora had during his time of deportation been holding a Rwandan passport, he was part of the community of Zambia.
He also revealed that the Rwandan authorities were reluctant to give Fr Banyangadora a new passport because the Zambia Government had not confirmed in writing that the deportation order was reversed.
He said once the paper work was done by the Zambian Government, the Rwandan authorities would be willing to issue a fresh passport to Fr Banyangandora to facilitate his return to Zambia.
"The Zambian Government has to do paper work to confirm that truly the deportation order was reversed to facilitate the issuance of new passport to Fr Banyangandora," Bishop Phiri said.
He said the Church was grateful to President Michael Sata for reversing the deportation order.
"On behalf of Bishop George Lungu who is away in USA, let me express my gratitude to the Head of State over his decision to reverse or indeed to revoke the deportation order.
"When everything happened, we felt that one of our priests who had stayed in Zambia for more than 20 years had been subtracted from the diocese, "he said.
Bishop Phiri, however, complained about the bad state of the road network in rural areas and appealed to the Government to expedite the rehabilitation exercise.
He said he was hopeful that the recently launched 'Link Zambia 8000' project would open up the rural areas.
"From the onset, let me state that the Church is involved in a number of activities and we feel that if the Government can improve on the markets, improve on electricity as well as road network, most people can be assisted a lot, "he said.
In response, Mr Mwamba said he would take up the issue by talking to Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu to ensure that the papers relating to the deportation order were quickly worked out.
He said the relationship between the Church and the Government had been excellent, adding that the State would bring the Church even closer.
"Even the President has stated that the Church should be closer to the Government for development to take root," Mr Mwamba said.
Mr Mwamba assured the Bishop that Chipata would attain a city status because it had required infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Anglican Diocese of Eastern Zambia Bishop William Mchombo appealed to the Government to start funding health institutions that were under his church.
Bishop Mchombo said at his residence when Mr Mwamba paid a courtesy call on him that there had been disparities in the way the Government was funding health institutions being run by the Church.