InOctober,the Zambian Government announced that the country would stop meeting it’s debt repayments.
With Zambia’s debt repayment four times larger than what the Government spends on the health service,the need for Zambia’s debts to be cancelled is clear.
But most of Zambia’s debts are to private lenders, who have refused to release Zambia from its debts, because some of them are set to make up to 250% profit from Zambia’s debts.
The Zambian government has for some years cut spending on public services in order to meet the debt repayments, but t he COVID19 epidemic has meant increased spending cannot beavoided – on health, on cleaning up public areas and on information campaigns about avoiding infection.
The people and Government of Zambia need our prayers and our campaigning to drop the debt.
Our partner congregation, St John’s United Church of Zambia (UCZ) congregation in Mtendere, Lusaka, has suffered financially, like the rest of the country. Because, during Zambia’s lockdown from March onwards, there were no big church services and no Sunday collections, UCZ ministers could not be paid for two months.
St John’s congregation of over 2,000 members is organised in 13 sections – local neighbourhoods of about 30 church households, and most members pay their church collections to their section treasurer. So, even when Sunday services could not be held, St John’s was receiving money from members to pay some of the wages and property expenses.
Each month the 13 section treasurers meet with the minister, the Church treasurer and the treasurers of the biggest groups of the congregation – the Women’s Christian Fellowship, the Men’s Christian Fellowship and the youth. In this way, the financial situation of the church is known to most church members, and the costs and fundraising needs are shared.
Mtendere is not a wealthy neighbourhood, and church members are, like everyone, suffering from the economic downturn provoked by the pandemic.
But St John’s, through the Community Development and Social Justice Group, stillhelps the most needy people of the neighbourhood.
Keep St John’s, Mtendere, in your prayers, as they keep us in their prayers.