The significance of maintaining Zambia’s declaration as a Christian nation
THE retention of the declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation in the Draft Constitution preamble is justifiably right and serves a concrete purpose.
As it states “We the people of Zambia, in exercise of our constituent power; acknowledge the supremacy of God Almighty; declare the Republic a Christian nation, but uphold the right of every person to enjoy that person’s freedom of conscience or religion”.
There is no doubt that the values of Christianity corresponds with good governance, which is why the declaration is cardinal.
By acknowledging the supremacy and authority of God, it means every Zambian; including those who are charged with responsibility to govern adhere to values that govern Christianity, like “love your neighbour as much as a yourself” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
Through these values, every citizen is bound by a moral obligation to respect his follow man regardless of race, creed and gender.
The values are also about caring for the poor, sick and aged, even visiting those who are in prison.
There is also an aspect of caring for widows and orphans, who often times, are victims of social injustices and inequalities that manifest themselves in many forms.
True, all men are created equal and have the equal value before the Creator.
Being conscious of this truth, helps citizens, rich or poor to be aware of their moral obligation.
Thomas Jefferson, an American founding father, the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence, wrote: “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
To secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …..”
He also wrote: “God who gave us life gave us liberty.
Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?”
It is not an accident that Zambia was declared as Christian Nation.
Long before the declaration was first made in 1991 by second Republican president Frederick Chiluba, the foundation had already being laid by missionaries.
Indeed, Zambia is the living legacy of David Livingstone, a missionary who became one of the most famous men of the 19th century.
When Livingstone died in 1873, his African companions made a year-long journey to return his body to London.
With thousands attending his funeral, his body was buried in Westminster Abbey, but not his heart.
It said the legendary explorer who prayed on his death bed that where his heart would be buried will become a Christian nation.
Well, as they say, the rest is history; Zambian is one country under God, where the governors and the governed are ultimately accountable to God.
Zambia is a former British colony whose greatest natural resource is copper mining. Scottish missionaries have ministered in the country for generations.
However, the big difference came in 1991 when new President Chiluba came to power and declared Zambia a Christian nation.
This opened the door to evangelize the nation.
The love for God and the fear of his commandments makes human beings responsible citizens at whatever level.
In declaring Zambia as a Christian Nation, it was an affirmation that country would conduct it affairs through.
The declaration itself was solidification and institutionalisation of what happened in the past as regards to Christianity.
As a matter of fact, the proclamation was a validation of what Zambia was already is; Christian,
In Zambia, Christianity is openly acknowledged as a powerful force in government and politics.
The enshrined declaration would always be constant reminder of how far the country has come.
It is seen as a direct assault on secularism, which is always at loggerheads with principles the country was founded upon, such as the sanctity of life and marriage and the promotion of family values.
When the late Dr Chiluba declared on the steps of State House in 1991, a year that ushered a new and historical era of multipartism in Zambia, he said “Zambia is Christian nation that will seek to be governed by principales of the righteous Word of God.
Righteousness must prevail in all levels of authority, and then we shall see the righteousness of God exalting Zambia.
There is no doubt Zambia’s belief system has had an influence on the way we look at life. This is not to say, all Zambians are Christians, and to say so would be a false generalisation
But by and large, an average Zambian professes to be a Christian whether by word of mouth or action.
The bottom line is, there is a sense of awareness among the general citizenry about the omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence of the infinite God.
That awareness is deeply ingrained in the Zambian psychic, which is why the declaration means so much to l many country men and women.
Everywhere in Zambia, most public and some private functions are always opened in a word of prayer.
Besides faith-based events, prayer is always part of the programme in Government functions, Parliament and even some business related events..
The Lord’s Prayer is and has always been part of the public schools and pre-schools where child ren reside recite it effortlessly and flawlessly.
In short, the whole concept of Christianity is ingrained in the Zambian psychic.
Many believe, without the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation , could make the country vulnerable as it would have no covenantal covering whatsoever.
Ultimately, the retention of the declratgion of Zambia as Christian Nation serves a concrete purpose.
However, the declaration would be more meaningful if all Zambians regardless of their status endeavour to lead their daily lives with the strict adherence to values such as sharing, forgiveness, tolerance and reconciliation which act as a corner stone of the Christain faith.