Zambian President: Country Should Maintain Christian Identity

Zambian President Rupiah Banda said Tuesday that the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation should be retained in the Republican Constitution.

In a speech read at the 18th anniversary celebration of the country's Christian declaration, Banda said, "It is my passionate desire that my government can access the prosperity which comes from the living God."

"I am very positive that you, my fellow Zambians, share this belief with me that in this covenant lies the wisdom of God which, if you hold any kingly position like I do as the Republican President of this nation, then you can align with the covenant like King David did," he said.

"If you are a spiritual leader, you can also align with the covenant like Moses did."

Banda also said that people should not take Zambia's peace for granted but rather see it as a gift from God.

"We must all be practically responsible citizens who are watchful enough and guarding the only one land that God has graciously given us to work on it and take care of," he said.

Several political and religious officials chimed in their support for Banda's position, including Heritage Party president Godfrey Miyanda, who urged the Church to take steps to amplify the declaration.

"We should establish why we are having difficulties with something which is good," Miyanda said. "Being a Christian nation does not mean we are perfect but that we need to work hard to live up to the declaration. In other words, we should be followers of Christ."

The Rev. Gibson Nyirenda made several political suggestions for strengthening Zambia's Christian identity, including establishing an embassy in Israel and strengthening bilateral relations with the country.

Nyirenda also appealed to government to constitute a ministry of Christian and religious affairs as well as mark Dec. 29 a public holiday.