Civil Society leader Pamela Chisanga has observed that opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has been incarcerated for a long time and has advised his party to think through on how to secure his release.
Commenting on move by the Catholic Church Bishops to engage President Lungu and Hichilema who is facing treason charges for a dialogue, Ms Chisanga says she feels for the opposition leader.
President Lungu yesterday accepted to dialogue with Hichilema on condition that he recognise him as winner of the 2016 elections. He also allowed the Catholic Bishops to visit Hichilema in prison and deliver the message.
The UPND has not commented on the issue and has asked members to wait for the party’s position on the matter.
But Ms Chisanga has the following message for UPND leadership which she says is predicatable:
I feel for HH. He has been in there too long. I think UPND needs to do the right analysis on this one. There is nothing more dangerous in this world like a fool with a cause. EL’s cause is holding to power, having more power, having no dissent. He may be amenable to engagement now because he now perhaps thinks he can salvage the situation because he is under a lot of criticism and threats of donors pulling out, but he doesn’t regret what he has done, he would not stop it if he wanted and this may be a temporary reprieve.
On the other hand, UPND is predictable, they will just shut down any overtures at reconciliation and he knows this. He is cunning. He wants to show that he tried to reach out, but HH refused. He wanted justice and justice has been served. He has been tried, found guilty and convicted. I do agree that any reconciliation must not be contingent upon HH recognizing Lungu but I do think HH and UPND should not be philosophical or emotional about this engagement.
Let them not fool themselves that it is a sign of defeat by EL. Far from it. Edgar has demonstrated how ruthless he is. People who know him talk about how unforgiving he is. I doubt this is an olive branch he is offering-it may be poison ivy he is holding out. UPND needs strategists to help them think through this, they have now had a terrible record of misjudgment and bungling things up. This must not be a winner takes all kind of engagement.