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Hoping to improve Zambia's fading economy, President Edgar Lungu has called for national prayers and fasting to call on God to intervene. In a press statement recently released from the Presidential palace, the recent devaluation of the kwacha, Zambia's national currency was described as just one of the many crises facing Zambians:
The President stated that the decision was inevitable in view of the many challenges that the country was faced with among them: socio-economic; disrespect for elders and a near absence of civility in discourse; high unemployment levels among the youth and high poverty levels, Kwacha depreciation including load shedding due to the power deficit.
Pastors from across the country are also publicly praying to boost the kwacha. One of these pastors, Kautemba Phiri, was quoted as saying: "Let us all get our kwacha notes and pray for this money so that it gains value. We should pray that the kwacha gains the much-needed strength against other convertible international currencies”
Over the past few months, the Zambian kwacha (which means "dawn" in local tribal dialects) has declined dramatically against the United States dollar and most other world currencies. Bloomberg and other international news sources have rated the kwacha as being one of the weakest in the world. The Zambian economy has weakened internationally due to the drop in demand for important exports such as copper as well as reduced demand for electricity for mining concerns. Allegations of government financial mismanagement are adding to the country's woes
But not everyone in Zambia is taken with the idea of calling for supernatural help. Baptist pastor Conrad Mbewe discussed his grave concerns about the public prayer in his blog:
What bothered me was when I read that each pastor was asked to pull out a kwacha note from his pocket and raise it in the air during the prayer meeting. While other pastors were praying in tongues others were now prophesying that the currency should appreciate in three months.
Later, the kwacha notes were collected and taken to “the altar” where some senior pastors who were present continued to pray over the notes. Then the pastors collected their money again and continued to pray over the notes so that the money gains value....However, when educated people start confusing a piece of paper with a national economy that begins to worry me. What has gone wrong is not the piece of paper in our pockets. It is the national economy of Zambia that is sick. We cannot carry that in our pockets.
Other commenters were even more caustic. One wrote, "Cry my beloved country! Problem in Zambia is most of the so called clergymen are just grades 7, 9 or 12 failures or school drop outs. And what do you expect from a bunch of failures who can’t see beyond their noses? You are asking too much from God you! Leave God out of this!"
In the meantime, Zambia's economic woes are expected to continue with little real hope of improvement over the next few years. How many Zambians will respond to this remains to be seen.
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