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Livingstonia Synod speaks on controversial donation

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Egrita Ndala

Livingstonia Synod of Church of Central Africa Presbyterian has come out to clear a controversial donation, the K56 million-worth Ford Ranger, given to the synod by President Lazarus Chakwera.

The donation attracted criticism from some quarters that believed that government was trying to stop the vocal religious body from speaking against the current administration.

The vehicle is currently being used by Livingstonia Synod General Secretary Reverend William Tembo.

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According to General Administration Committee minutes number (28/21) (c), the vehicle came from well-wishers through Chakwera.

“Ford Ranger motor vehicle worth [K56 million came] from the State President Dr Lazarus Chakwera through his well-wishers. The business committee thanked the secretariat for sourcing these donations and commended the General Assembly Committee,” the minutes reads.

Tembo said in a separate interview that the synod receives many donations from well-wishers but declined to say much on the vehicle in question.

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Chakwera’s spokesperson Anthony Kasunda asked for more time before he could comment on the matter.

According to minutes of the synod’s 2022 extraordinary meeting, Tembo disclosed that some officials from the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) visited the synod on June 19 2022 to seek clarity on the vehicle.

Tembo also told the meeting that ACB assured the synod that there was nothing wrong on the part of the church because the vehicle in question was just a gift.

ACB Public Relations Officer Egrita Ndala said the bureau would release a report once its officers are done with their investigations.

Political analyst Mustafa Hussein also noted no anomaly with the President donating items to a church.

“This has been a norm for our presidents and it is not strange for Chakwera to do it. Moreover, if ACB cleared the synod, then they are better off. This is not wrong because the church is part of the government as it endorses policies which government is implementing,” Hussein said.

Livingstonia Synod officials met Chakwera last year when they, among other things, requested the government to consider helping the synod with construction of a hostel at its University of Livingstonia’s Laws Campus.

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