The role of the church in political conflict resolution in Zambia, 1990-2018.
Ndau, Jufellow Bwali
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This dissertation set out to establish the role that the church has so far has played in the resolution of political conflicts in Zambia. It further examined the sustainability of this position, bearing in mind the new position of the Church after the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation and the introduction of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and National Guidance in the political realm. The study employed a cross sectional study design, targeting different demographical and geographical areas namely Civil Society Organisations, church mother bodies and the general populace within the delimitation of Lusaka and outlying areas like Mandevu, Munali, Lusaka Central, Kafue and Chongwe. The study was exploratory, more qualitative than quantitative processes in order to establish the status quo and determine causality. The study revealed that, the church in carrying out its mandate and has the necessary ethical values strategic for conflict resolution. Values, including forgiveness and reconciliation, which can inspire communities to change attitudes and actions at a basic level and transform worldviews at a deeper level to understand “others” in the conflict positively as well as to sharpen political players in believing and enabling a peaceful playing field for all. This is pointer to some magnitudes that church further provides checks and balances to the government of the day. As well as some civic education smidgeon through the media, thereby mobilising national unity among political players. Furthermore, the church is seen to have unique leverage as spiritual leaders that allow them to influence and sway communities in ways that secular players in the conflict may not this leaves room for manipulation by either party in a conflict but is kept in check by adhering to ethical standards and hence maintaining the ‘professionalism/the integrity of its decisions. This unique leverage also increases the likelihood of expanding support for peace and peace processes. The study concludes by recommending that the church should continue to enhance its capacity to resolve political conflicts, by standing as one voice when it comes to conflict resolution.
The University of Zambia