Lusaka archbishop says Africans must do more to protect girls

Lusaka's Catholic archbishop said African nations should do more to protect girls from oppression and harassment.

Laws need to be put in place to ensure that African girls are safeguarded from useless, abusive and oppressive traditional practices, Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu said in late May at a Mass for the Little Servants of Mary Immaculate.

"As a church, we want to see the African girl child well-protected and respected right from the word go" the archbishop said.

Bishops to Zambian government: Stop intimidation, keep tax breaks

Zambian Catholic bishops urged the government to stop using state security institutions to intimidate people and warned that changes in tax legislation could lead to severe cutbacks in services that the church offers the poor.

Zambia's political environment "is characterized by manipulation, patronage and intimidation of perceived government opponents," the bishops said in a statement issued at a Jan. 23 news conference at their Lusaka headquarters.

Priest's homily leads to deportation from Zambia

LUSAKA, Zambia -- Zambian authorities deported a Rwandese Catholic priest after he was detained for two days and questioned for preaching about poverty and justice for the poor during a Mass.

Edgar Lungu, minister of home affairs, confirmed that Father Viateur Banyangandora, pastor of the parish in Lundazi, Zambia, was sent to his homeland Aug. 1. He declined to say why the priest, 40, was deported.

"Father Banyangandora's conduct was found to be a danger to peace and good order in Zambia," Lungu said.

Zambian church officials had no immediate comment on the deportation.

Father Banyangandora was picked up at his residence by police at about 5 p.m., July 30, and taken to Lusaka, the Zambian capital, for questioning, said Father Evan Sakala, the parish's parochial vicar.

Father Sakala explained that police pointed to comments that Father Banyangandora made in which he castigated the government over its handling of an impasse between cotton growers and cotton ginners. Authorities, Father Sakala said, apparently considered the comments capable of inciting people to rise against the government.

Zambian president expresses sorrow at bishop's death

ZAMBIA, Lusaka -- Zambian President Rupiah Banda, who for years was criticized by retired Bishop Paul Duffy, expressed sorrow upon hearing of the bishop's Aug. 23 death.

Bishop Duffy died of leukemia at the Oblate retirement home in San Antonio. He was 79.

Bishop Duffy, who served in the Diocese of Mongu for 14 years, was known for criticizing the Zambian government for neglecting the needs of poor people.

In a letter to the Zambia Episcopal Conference, Banda said he still remembered the conversation he had with Bishop Duffy when he visited the clergyman at his house in the rural district of Mongu, in western Zambia. He said that even though he differed with the bishop on some issues, he was a very intelligent person.

"The ... government and I are deeply sorry about this loss, and we wish you and the Catholic Church leadership in Zambia God's grace and strength as you handle the various pressures that arise out of this extremely difficult development," the president said.