ISSUED SATURDAY, 19TH FEBRUARY, 2022
FOR DISSEMINATION ON SUNDAY 20TH FEBRUARY, 2022
PASTORAL GUIDANCE TO ALL PAOGZ CONGREGATIONS ON THE ZAMBIA LAW DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION PROPOSAL TO REPEAL LAWS THAT PROHIBIT ABORTION ON DEMAND AND BIGAMY
The Council of Bishops of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God Zambia hereby issues the following guidance to all our over 2000 congregations countrywide as a way of providing broad talking points that our Pastors and congregants may feel free to use in engaging their representatives who return to Parliament this week, to discuss among other things, the constitutional amendments proposed by the Zambia Law Development Commission.
Context and Position
The Zambia Law Development Commission proposes to repeal current laws (Section 166 of the Penal Code) that prohibit bigamy and that regulate access to abortion for pregnant women.
The position of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God Zambia (PAOGZ) is that the proposed repeals are unwarranted and should not be supported by the citizenry.
The laws that are in place have enabled the preservation of sanity and moral clarity at all levels of Zambian society. No protests have ever been mounted against the current prohibitions of polygamy or abortion on demand, because it is widely appreciated that the laws in question have aided successive governments and communities to maintain social order.
There is a broad understanding among all age groups that marriage is most beneficial when it is between one man and one woman. There is no material disadvantage that has been suffered by any segment of Zambia’s population because of such laws. Additionally, existing laws are flexible and have permitted customary marriages of polygamous nature, though that form of marriage is not as popular in Zambia as is monogamous marriage.
There also is a common understanding that life is sacrosanct and abortion by choice cannot be accepted. It is sufficient that existing laws permit abortion under strict controls, such as when the life of both mother and the unborn baby are threatened by a well verified medical condition.
The Zambia Law Development Commission has the standing and leverage to bring to the public eye more critical legal instruments which can help the legislators deal with lacunas in the Constitution. It is misdirected for the Commission to be more interested in pressing for legislative changes that would serve to open more doors for sexual immorality to thrive in Zambian society.
The proposed changes to the law are a danger to the youth.
The PAOGZ warns that such legislative gymnastics can only endanger the youth population which needs sound moral formation, with the help of wholesome laws, as they grow towards adulthood.
UNFPA in their publication, Young People and the Road to 2030, stated in August 2018: “In Zambia, today’s record 4.8 million young people aged 15-35 [36.7 per cent of Zambia’s population] – the largest population of young people in its history – present an enormous opportunity to transform our future.”
We cannot, as a Republic, throw this critical human resource into the precipice of social and spiritual darkness, and turn them into an aimless generation without a sound sense of moral judgment.
The proposed changes to the law only increase dimensions of marital problems
Wholesale permission for polygamous marriage will merely aggravate existent problems afflicting marriages. Large numbers of monogamous marriages are dysfunctional; how then can increased numbers of polygamous marriages enhance the quality of marital relationships?
In 2021, more than 20,000 marriages were dissolved countrywide with Lusaka, Eastern and Western provinces each recording the highest cases of over 4,000 divorces. A total of 25,851 divorces were entered in registries countrywide in 2020.
Infidelity, adultery, gender-based violence, and poor communication among spouses were cited as being among the major reasons why the affected couples sought divorce. The average age of those seeking divorce was been 25 and 45 years old. Zambia needs to tackle such problems meaningfully and with clarity, which cannot be realized with added stress which pro-polygamy laws will bring about.
In the meantime, PAOGZ continues close collaboration with brethren in the Body of Christ as well as other stake holders for the greater good of our nation’s future.
In the Lord’s Service, for stronger families in our nation.
Bishop Dr. Joshua HK Banda
Presiding Bishop – Pentecostal Assemblies of God-Zambia (PAOGZ)
President- Pentecostal Assemblies of Africa (PAOA)- Southern Africa Region