Commonwealth dialogue process postponed indefinitely due to impeachment motion

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The dialogue process led by the Commonwealth has hit a temporary set back as the launch of the Steering Committee scheduled for Monday has been postponed until further notice, a source close to the development has revealed.

The source who declined to be named said the main reason the launch has been postponed was due to the Impeachment Motion which has “poisoned” the dialogue process.

He said the Impeachment Motion was a big hindrance to the advancement of the process as stakeholders feel that the UPND leadership is playing double standards by demanding for dialogue while pushing for the Impeachment of the Republican President Edgar Lungu.

He also said the decision to postpone the launch is an admission by the Commonwealth that they are stuck as the plan they had come to impose on Zambians has back fired.

He said the road map which Commonwealth envoy Professor Gambari brought with him has been resisted by Zambians due to the continued shifting of goal posts by the envoy who is viewed as having an agenda known only to them.

He further said the so called national dialogue process road map was mainly rejected by stakeholders because it was centred on two individuals, President Edgar Lungu and Hakainde Hichilema and their political parties when it should involve all political parties and stakeholders.

“The dialogue process was premised on a forward looking framework which included a number of law reforms such as the Electoral Process Act, Public Order Act, Political Parties Bill, Gender mainstreaming in elections through a conducive environment for women participants among others. But UPND has again denied the many stakeholders, this opportunity to get a number of things addressed like they did in the referendum due to their selfish and narrow agenda of power or nothing.

“We have missed an opportunity to make elections more free and fair. UPND is not the only political party, other political parties genuinely wanted to benefit from the dialogue process by pushing for reforms so to put an end to this episode that always resurfaces after elections.

He added “Its simple the reason why the Commonwealth Envoy has postponed this arrangement till further notice, is because one of the major stakeholder the UPND in particular have defied a crucial dialogue principle number three, ‘it is imperative that each participant comes to the dialogue with complete honesty and sincerity. This means not only describing the major and minor thrusts, as well as potential future shifts of one’s traditional view points by avoiding physical decisions against your dialogue partner,’ with this impeachment motion.

“Commonwealth being an international organisation uses well known diaolgue and diplomacy principles laid down by the UN for mediation to which they must apply themselves. So we were not doing it in a vacuum or from nowhere. It will be difficult to get the PF on the table again. We may still hold 2021 elections under the same hostile environment, which we all know the results and the winner,” he said.

The source also shared a letter communicating the postponement of the launch to stakeholders.

URGENT; postponement OF LAUNCH OF COMMONWEALTH STEERING COMMITTEE.

Dear Excellences/Esteemed Partners

I write to inform you that the official launch of the Political Dialogue Steering Committee scheduled for Monday, 26 March 2018 has regrettably been postponed until further notice.

This decision has been necessitated by the need to allow key stakeholders to finalise their final nominations to the Steering Committee which unfortunately has taken longer than expected.

We sincerely regret the inconveniences caused by this development. We shall advise you of the new launch date in due course.

Kind regards

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