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Zambia: Catholic Priest Deported for ‘Poverty’ Sermon

Categories: Sub-Saharan Africa, Zambia, Citizen Media, Freedom of Speech, Politics, Religion

A Catholic priest from a parish in the rural Eastern Province of Zambia has been deported [1] by the Zambian government for a Sunday sermon in which he allegedly preached that the rich in the country were getting richer while the poor were getting poorer.

Fr.Viateur Banyangandora, aged 40, was picked up [2] from Lundazi before he was taken to the capital, Lusaka, over 800 km away by Zambia’s Secret Service who are known by the initials OP, or Office of the President, before he was handed over to the Immigration Department which led to deportation to his native country, Rwanda.

Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu, announcing the priest's deportation, said [1]:

Fr. Banyangandora’s conduct was found to be a danger to peace and good order in Zambia contrary to Section 39(2) of the Immigration and Deportation Act, No. 18 of 2010.

His initial arrest and the subsequent deportation was received with mixed feelings by Zambian netizens considering that the ruling PF government was thought to have been helped by a number of Catholic priests [3] in its campaign to defeat the former ruling party, the MMD. President Sata, a Catholic, affirmed during a church service in his early days that Zambia would be ruled [4] along biblical principles.

President Sata praying in a Catholic Church

President Sata praying in a Catholic Church. Picture courtesy of Zambian Watchdog.

Commenting about the deportation on Zambian Watchdog, Political Analyst wrote [1] [the site does not have permanent links for individual comments]:

Following the 10 commandments l presume? Deporting a man of God??

In another contribution, Abana Ba Mfumu wrote [1]:

Why should we allow foreigners to be interfering in the internal affairs of the country, let it be a lesson to other foreigners who don’t like keeping their mouths shut!!!!

Responded [1] Colonial Apologist:

@Abana Bafumu. You are the same person who would grin and clap when Bishop Duffy [5] and the Radio Ichengelo preist [6] would say things against MMD. People like you are a waste of space in Zambia. Try a little bit of sincerity and maturity.

In what appears to be a prayer, Mwape wrote [1]:

The catholics are tasting their own vomit. Everyone knew what type of a hyena was Sata but the catholic Church went ahead and crowned him king. Let’s continue watching as the drama continues am a catholic but on my church’s support for Sata left me puzzled. God we have suffered enough in these few months Sata has been in power and it seems things are just getting worse. Please send your holy spirit to help him guide your flock using the ten commandments. May you also give the catholic leaders a prophetic lens to help them know what is good for your people. It may take few days or years but Lord I know you will come to our aid. Redeem your children from this government. I ask all this through Christ our Lord who live and reigns with you. Amen!

On the earlier story of the priest’s arrest, Saulos [7] wrote [2]:

Cursed are those who are dragging the Priest for preaching true gospel. The day comes when the whole truth shall be reviewed when the current gvt will be tossed out like a monkey who has missed a branch and falls to the ground without remedy. OP guys tell Mr Cobra the truth do not cheat our President he is not working yet, Suppose we had By-elections do you think PF would survive. Let us face reality people of the Nation.

A sarcastic Ninny wrote [2]:

deport the Catholic priest to Rwanda. How dare he talk about poverty in zambia? Cannot he see rich president, rich Guy Scott [8] [Vice President] , rich kabimba [ruling PF secretary general], rich GBM [Defence Minister], rich richie Rich. Where is poverty in zambia? It is in your mind you pathetic priest. Go back and live in poverty in your country. Zambia is a very rich country. We have only two classes rich and upper rich.

On Facebook, Waziona Nkhwekwe [9] wrote:

Mr Speaker if Priests will be arrested because of their sermons I wonder who is safe in this Country? The Pf Government learn to rule the Country without threats and intimidation . Such methods have been used before in this Country and they lamentably failed !

The stories of the priests arrest and subsequent deporation was tweeted and retweeted several times and elicited horror: [10]

@anglissima: WTF! #Zambia Priest detained for preaching “rich getting richer, poor getting poorer”. http://zambianwatchdog.com/2012/08/01/op-  [11]… via @GNdhlovu [12]