Effect of Religion on Democracy

Dr. B. Mwansa Kapika

Dr. B. Mwansa Kapika

By Dr. B. Mwansa. Kapika (BMK)

A few years ago I was astonished to read the pronouncement of Zambia by the republican President Frederick Chiluba, as a Christian nation.

This trend seem to have a follow up by many more politicians in the country. Hardly a day passes by without hearing the same rhetoric. This is to my surprise even echoed by the newspapers like The Post. Which to me seems to act as a mouth piece of the present ruling system.

I hope that my views maybe shared by fellow Zambians. To my analytical point of view, it is wrong and dangerous to force the country to adapt its culture and traditions to Christianity. Doing so is a sign of lacking historical consciousness. Christianity or other religions like Islam are imported factors within the African culture.

As a result a lot of confusions have come up whereby a culture of violence and hate are almost a daily occurrence. This is already taking place in some countries like Central African Republic, Mali, Southern Sudan, Nigeria, Uganda and in Kenya. I have to include the last two countries, though this is taking place at a small scale. As a liberal Christian, I do not oppose religion, but I get worried to note that many leaders have failed to differentiate and address the negative effects of religious fanatism on daily lives of the people.

Though somehow Karl Marx is his book DAS KAPITAL was right, Christianity or Islam  can add many values to our African cultures, if these are used as supplements to our moral values. By adapting ourselves entirely to imported systems, is another way of inviting more divisions.

For centuries and before the coming of Christianity or Islam, Africans lived in harmony with each other. They had their own rule of laws, traditional values and beliefs which brought them closer to the nature. In this way peaceful co-existence methods were able to be sustained. The reason behind this understanding and harmony was that the Africans understood the content of their traditional beliefs.

This came to a halt  when Christianity and Islam forced their ways in our traditions. Africans had their own religion, which if we need more harmony and peace need to be revitalized. This concerns the majority. And therefore Zambia cannot be called a Christian nation. Pluralism and inclusiveness must continue to be a guideline.

In the last years we have witnessed the mushrooming of born-agains and new churches in every corner of Zambia. Their influence have never always been positive. There have been cases of people receiving false hopes which can never be realistic.

While some charismatic characters have been using their charisma to gain moral and material influence on the poor and  therefore denying them the own-initiatives to self-reliance and personal developments.

It is sad to see that the Africans have embraced religious systems which the whites who had introduced this to them, have already turned against.

The Europeans have already come to realize that their religion does not meet their expectations, but could be useful to supplement their moral values.

Europeans have turned into what I may call Christmas Christians. It therefore surprised me when I thirty three years ago visited a catholic church for the first  time in the Netherlands and only to find that only three of us were in such a large building.While on a Christmas day, I found that all the chairs were occupied.

To-date a lot of church buildings are being brought  down to pave the way to houses and offices. While religion is only being used by nationalist to promote their national consciousness and to discourage immigration.

Dr. B. Mwansa. Kapika (BMK) is Interim President
Movement For Equal Shares, Powers, and Anti-Corruption To All Zambian People ( Mespaazapo)