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Zambian Bishops call for suspension of slush fund

Catholic bishops have called for the suspension of the presidential discretionary fund as Zambia heads towards general elections.

In a pastoral letter on the current political climate and the 2001 general elections, the bishops have also called on government leaders to refrain from threatening people with developmental sanctions if the people voted other political parties.

The bishops stated that there was need to level the political playing field before the elections. They have advised people to vote for candidates with integrity and of high moral behaviour.

"Those who have been in office must be evaluated on their record in office," they stated, adding that the record should entail finding out how they exemplified themselves whilst in office, if they enriched themselves instead of helping the poor, if they showed special concern towards the poor and if they were accused of any impropriety while in office, among others.

"In the pluralistic societies of our day, it is especially due to the commitment of the Catholics in public life that the Church can exercise a positive influence." Politics need people with high credibility. Their presence in the political arena can bring gospel values to the political process. They should not deny the people of Zambia quality leadership. Christians must use the election time to critically evaluate the candidates who put themselves up for elections. They must be evaluated against agreed criteria of values inspired by the social teaching of the church."

Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (Zambia)

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