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Zambia: Ruling party and Catholic Church seek truce after weeks of virulent exchanges

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Hichilema and Lusaka Archbishop Alick Banda are publicly known as adversaries. Neither of the two men attempted to disguise this perception or showed any willingness to bury the hatchet.

Bully pulpit

During a church service on 21 May, Fr. Anthony Salangeta, a Catholic priest of Chawama, mocked Hichilema’s use of graphs during a press briefing to illustrate how Zambia’s economy has deteriorated over time due to uncontrolled borrowing.

“People here don’t understand graphs. The people want food on the table… so you go and tell them that we don’t need graphs,” Salangeta, an ally of former president Edgar Lungu, told a cheering packed congregation that he addressed in the native language in Chawama, a sprawling low-income slum south of Lusaka.

Lungu is the former legislator for Chawama, and currently, his daughter, Tasila is the MP.

Salangeta’s short clip went viral on many social media

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