12 Reasons why UPND praise singers and all Zambians must thank Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu- Chris Zumani

12 Reasons why UPND praise singers and all Zambians must thank Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu

By Dr. Chris Zumani Zimba

1. In South Africa, we talk of Desmond Tutu, an Anglican archbishop best known for his strong and open opposition against state brutality, oppression and injustices of the apartheid government then. This is the stature of Archbishop Mpundu today in Zambia.

2. As outstanding clergy in speaking for justice, freedom and equality, the renowned South African clergy received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1984 ahead of Nelson Mandela. Tutu was the feared voice that openly spoke against the apartheid regime and petitioned the UN, US, UK, EU, AU, SADC several times.

3. In post apartheid South Africa, Tutu was in 1995 named head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by Nelson Mandela in order investigate, mediate and heal the country from apartheid era human rights abuses and political atrocities. Even in his grave, Archbishop Desmond Tutu still remains a respected activist.

4. In Zambia today, Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu takes the place and role of Desmond Tutu. Mpundu firmly believes in promoting human rights, equality and fundamental freedoms for all people. He has shown Zambians high moral principles in his career as a Catholic clergy and citizen.

5. Before our eyes and those who have passed away, Archbishop Mpundu stand out among few Zambians who consistently speak for the oppressed, vulnerable and marginalized in society. He is a man of noble aspiration for humanity; he is a citizen of noble contribution to Zambia both morally, spiritually and politically.

6. This has been his moral duty and political signature under all our seven presidents: Kenneth Kaunda, FT Chiluba, Levy Mwanawasa, Rupiah Banda, Micheal Sata, Edgar Lungu and now Hakainde Hichilema. In Zambia, Archbishop Mpundu is a big moral institution that each republican president has not ignored. He is a loud political and religious voice for all.

7. Like Desmond Tutu, archbishop Mpundu is among very few Zambians who have openly condemned overt authoritarian tendencies and weaponization of state institutions by president Hichilema and his UPND government. “Under Hichilema, Zambia is a one man dictatorship”, such have been his views consistently.

8. This is the person who partnered with HH to oppose and fight what was then deemed as ‘PF dictatorship’ before 2021 and his role as OCIDA chairman was very crucial in raising the national and regional advocacy message against president Edgar Lungu.

9. In the face of Archbishop Mpundu, we see a man who consistently sings the same song of Justice, democracy, good governance and peace for Zambians regardless of who is in state house. There are very few people with this type of consistency- his beliefs, what he stands for and does. On that list, add Archbishop Mpundu.

10. Here, we are talking about someone who was a priest for 52 years and a bishop for 36 years taking the same political position. This gives archbishop Mpundu a place of nobility and a rare voice of credibility when it comes to defending democracy, justice, equality, peace and national unity.

11. When criticized by some claimed OCIDA members for petitioning the US government to sanction president HH and his top officials for destroying democracy and good governance in Zambia, another active member of OCIDA, Brebner Changala defended the Archbishop by confirming that he is the founding chairman of OCIDA and that is his official responsibility. He is very correct!

12. Brebner Changala is also founding member of OCIDA as well as a renowned Human Rights activist who has been critical of the UPND government. Changala further criticized anti Mpundu OCIDA members as state house and UPND funded members who abandoned the pressure group since 2021.

Generally, Zambians must thank, celebrate and support Archbishop Mpundu for his consistent moral advocacy, spiritual voice and political leadership role: he is the Desmond Tutu of Zambia. Like slain US clergy, Reverend Martin Luther or feared Iranian spiritual leader, Ayatollah, Archbishop Mpundu is the lead political light shining amidst thick darkness in Zambia: he needs our prayers!

Dr Chris ZUMANI Zimba is a Political Scientist, Researcher, Author & Consultant specialized in Comparative Global Governance and Democratic Theories. He holds a PhD, MA, BA and Cert in Political Science. Zimba was President Lungu’s Political Advisor from December 2019 to August 2021. By philosophical approach, Dr. Zimba is a Pan Africanist as well as Afro-Christian by religion.

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