Who should facilitate and mediate the PF-UPND talks?

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By Justin Mupundu

It’s clear that Zambians want a national ‘indaba’. But then who should facilitate and mediate the national ‘indaba’?

Is it the governing Patriotic Front (PF)? Or is it the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND)? Or is it the e Clergy?

The Clergy, as the Prince of Peace (Our Lord Jesus Christ)’s representatives, should facilitate and mediate the PF-UPND reconciliation talks, and not issuing provocative statements.

This explains why God admonishes them in His Holy Bible’s Malachi 2:7: “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his lips men should seek instruction─ because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty.”

Further, the Holy Bible‘s Matthew 5:9 also offers a wise counsel: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

But it’s regrettable that some clergy have joined forced with the critics of President Edgar Lungu, and sacrificed priestly duties to their selfish interests.

The clergy have a noble task to unite and not to divide the nation, and build the nation in peace and pieces.

Contrary to the Catholic Archbishop Telephore Mpundu’s assertions that President Lungu is a dictator, President Lungu has demonstrated his statesmanship: He has gracefully accepted to dialogue provided the UPND recognises him as a duly elected Republican President What else do the clergy want him to do?

Bu the incarcerated UPND leader, Hakainde Hichilema, has vehemently refused to recognise him as a duly elected Republican President.

Meanwhile, the UPND wants to dialogue with President Lungu whom they have not recognised.

How then will they dialogue with President Lungu? Is it in his capacity as PF President? Or is it in his capacity as Republican President?

Recognition of President Lungu as a dully elected Republican President is the gist of the PF-UPND stand-off.

However, the clergy, particularly archbishop Mpundu has lamentably failed to counsel the UPND leaders on this matter. Yet quick to paint (Lungu) the Head of State black. But fails to discern how UPND leaders are proud and arrogant.

The Holy Bible’s James 4:5 also offers a wise counsel: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

How then should the clergy facilitate and mediate this seemingly intractable stand-off?

It’s also worth noting that a ‘Give-and-take’ principle is critical to dialogue.

It’s naïve to ask President Lungu to dialogue amid unresolved gist of the stand-off.

The national ‘indaba’ is not a one-time-off event. It’s a long and tedious process of bringing warring parties on a face-to-face roundtable dialogue.

The task requires not only diplomatic, negotiating, communication and analytical skills, but also empathy and good judgment.

Indeed, the mediator should also be impartial and acceptable to both parties, and posses abilities to iron out contentious issues in their order of importance: The first being the easiest to agree on, and the hardest to agree on is the last.

In this case, the hardest issue, which remains unresolved, for both parties to agree on is the recognition of President Lungu as a duly elected Republican President.

Archbishop Mpundu and his two counterparts fall short of the abilities to perform such a task. Therefore, they should immediately step aside, and refrain from commenting on the PF-UPND stand-off.

The clergy except the trio (Arch bishop Mpundu, Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ)’s Bishop Paul Mususu and Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ)’s Rev. Susan Matale) should immediately initiate a consensus-building process for dialogue.

Zambians expect the PF-UPND talks to take –off at the soonest possible time.

However, the onus is on the clergy to guide the nation: Initiate the PF-UPND dialogue, and not issuing provocative statements.

Issuing provocative statements will not resolve but escalate the stand-off. What has Archbishop Mpundu achieved by issuing such a provocative statement? Nothing, but created a hostile atmosphere for dialogue! But tact and diplomacy will help resolve the stand-off.

Whoosh! What a big test for the clergy! I pray that they will pass this test!

The author is a freelance journalist and a political analyst

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20 Responses to Who should facilitate and mediate the PF-UPND talks?

  1. If people like you Mupundu were there in 1991,when the dialogue was facilitated at the Anglican Cathedral all parties came to the table as equals,but here you seek to elevate one over the other which in situations of this nature cannot work,and with the present partisan clergy toeing ethnical and dangerously tribal leanings they can’t be entrusted to get us out of this matrix,their hand is compromised,leaving outside foreign intervention the only hope to arbitrate impartially

    The spectator
    June 21, 2017 at 7:16 am
    Reply

    • The Spectator appears to have deliberately forgotten why the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Meeting was Chaired by Church leaders with all political party leaders coming in as equals.In 1990,KK had literally lost control of this country and he wisely realized this fact.Being a Christian that he is,he did not want loss of lives just for him to keep power which in any case had slipped away.The Present situation is that PF and Edgar Chagwa Lungu enjoy massive support in SEVEN out of TEN Provinces.He therefore is in very strong position that it would be unrealistic to meet HH ON EQUAL STATUS.
      To me,the Church and other Civic organisations shoulder some blame for this political situation obtaining in our country.During Elections in 2016,the Church mother bodies and NGOs carried out their independent PVT whose result tarried with that of ECZ which declared Edgar Chagwa Lungu winner.I expected that immediately HH started claiming that his votes were stolen,the Church should have sat him down and assured him that no such thing happened.But they kept quiet.This is where the problem is.HH must just accept the results which even his own PVT approved.

      Joseph Chawina
      June 21, 2017 at 3:48 pm
      Reply

      • With respect to your opinion Mr Joseph Chains, what you have said about Mr E C Lungu controlling Seven (7) out of ten (10) provinces is what has brought the current tension because even the Churches’ PVT was suspicious. Ultimately, the UPND sought legal intervention by Petitioning the election results. Further, this is why the CISCA forum yesterday challenged the PF to vindicate itself through the same Petition to prove that they in fact won the August 11, 2016. Equality is a weak case as of now until the PF proves itself that they won that election, Sir.

        Mumbeti
        June 21, 2017 at 4:39 pm
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        • So, Mumbeti you don’t trust anybody except yourselves, yet even your own PVT does not dispute what was declared by the ECZ. So, what petition when you have no evidence? You want it as an academic exercise? How do you ask “a thief” to prove that they did not steal and you the complainant just wants to sit and offer no evidence to support your accusation? That is the uselessness of your CiSCA position.

          OneNation
          June 22, 2017 at 6:08 pm
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    • @Mupundu or is it Mpundu? I did not finish reading your story because that is exactly what I have been asking myself too. In my view, I think the Secretary-General of the United Nations should be approached to provide one under-Secretary-General to Chair these Talks. Why do I say so? Under very normal circumstances, I would have suggested the Church in Zambia. Sadly, I think the PF has lost confidence in the Church, so the Church falls out. The SADC would have been the alternative to the Zambian Church but I don’t think the UPND equally has the confidence of the SADC, what with the Membership of such people as President Mugabe.

      Mumbeti
      June 21, 2017 at 3:49 pm
      Reply

      • I would have suggested the African Union (AU) but the AU has become untrustworthy too lately! In view of this, I think the UN should be tried to chair the Indians. After all, the UN was formed for that purpose in 1945.

        Mumbeti
        June 21, 2017 at 3:56 pm
        Reply

  2. The Root cause of Zambia’s crisis is the Stolen,Disputed and Petitioned 2016 Election.In Gambia the Election Dispute was mediated by Ecowas which is the Regional Body for West Africa. The AU assisted Ecowas. In Zambia SADC should take up the Role and appoint a Mediator.AU should assist SADC in its mediation. Since the Election was Petitioned that Petition should be heard in Court. SADC should appoint a Special Election Tribunal for Zambia to hear the Petition. Lungu will not accept such a Tribunal becoz he knows it will find him guilty of Electoral Fraud and Treason for abrogating the Zambian Constitution. Lungu has to be forced to the negotiating table becoz he stands to lose if the Petition is heard in an Impartial Tribunal.Evidence abound that Lungu did not win the 2016 Election Democratically,Constitutionally and legally.Lungu is between a hard Rock and the Deep Blue Sea.

    Moya
    June 21, 2017 at 8:27 am
    Reply

  3. HH should recognise Lungu as President, is the reason why they arrested him? or it is treason?

    zzz
    June 21, 2017 at 10:46 am
    Reply

  4. your speech has merits.u are reasonable.

    visitor
    June 21, 2017 at 10:47 am
    Reply

  5. @ Moya,your speech deserves only merits.i like that kind of reasoning.

    visitor
    June 21, 2017 at 10:50 am
    Reply

  6. if lungu wants people to recognise him,let the petition be heard so that everyone z clear as to whether he won the election or not.

    visitor
    June 21, 2017 at 10:54 am
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    • We already recognize him, it is just trouble makers like you.

      OneNation
      June 22, 2017 at 6:27 pm
      Reply

  7. What’s happening in Zambia is all about greediness, not wanting to give up power. Those who have not abused power when in office have nothing to fear when they leave office but the guilty are always afraid!
    Unfortunately the only thing constant is change. This will happen whether people like or not. The rest of Zambians must just wait and see.

    Spiwe
    June 21, 2017 at 11:34 am
    Reply

  8. ndelolesha fye.

    sense
    June 21, 2017 at 8:26 pm
    Reply

  9. If allows petitions to head what thous the law says when the election as been petition . within 14 days judgement must passed you like it or not .
    We all know that this other group failed to bring evidence until 14 days elapsed what else they wants.can the constitution be up abrogated ? Cone own let them go back parliament and chance that law.

    Dicksonson Mwansa
    June 22, 2017 at 4:41 am
    Reply

  10. Who told you that Zambians want a national Indaba.Zambians want Jobs and food on their table.Zambians are tired of these endless petty politics.Elections are over let the crying babies try again in 2021.As for now lets work hard to improve our economy.

    Zambian Scholar
    June 22, 2017 at 5:01 am
    Reply

  11. The article was obviously written by a PF sympathiser.

    If Mr Lungu was a statesman he would release HH and order the courts to hear the petition. The courts would definitely declare him a winner if indeed there was no cheating.

    There is only one reason for the fear of the petition by the PF and Mr Lungu:
    -UPND has damning rigging evidence.

    Arresting HH is an evil strategy to prevent him from pursuing the “right to be heard” case pending in the High Court.
    Secondly, to try and stir trouble among UPND supporters so that coupled with Government-backed PF propaganda the nation can be turned against UPND and HH. HH would be arrested for whatever evil charge they would come up with and condemn him to life imprisonment or even death. Mrs Mumbi said they would hunt HH like a rat – that is to kill.
    That is what PF has almost achieved by labelling the Catholic Church UPND when it has never been, historically.
    It is sad that this “humble” President has managed to divide this country.
    It is still disputed that Mr Lungu won in 7 of the 10 provinces. The results were disputed and the petition was disrupted. Look how long the State has taken to start trial on HH treason case. And you expected a huge case of petition to be handled in 14 days less weekends!! This is just evil.
    God is supreme and is no respecter of man.

    Real Patriot
    June 22, 2017 at 6:06 am
    Reply

  12. @j.Chawina K.K had ruled for 27 years under UNIP,with unity of purpose,we all rallied together after Smith’s UDI in 1965,we believed in Humanisim part 1&2,and accepted the Choma declaration in 73,believed in the light at the end of the tunnel garb,the Mirror tabloid was allowed to be critical,but when hunger crept in the 80’s not even the brute force of the commando’s could contain the peoples wish to free themselves from the repression UNIP was unleashing on us,but presently things are fast-forwarding to a unpleasant anti-climax,the economic down turn,no jobs for the marauding urban youths,high cost of living,balooning external debt,then you have nepotism,regionalism creeping in govt,no money in peoples pockets,fictuous job promises then that grip on power is quickly lost.

    The Realist
    June 22, 2017 at 6:07 am
    Reply

  13. i totally disagree.
    The 3 Church Mother Bodies (3CMBs) still qualify to mediate. Why do I say so?
    1. Father Mapulanga in Vienna, Austria, has hit the nail on the head. The Catholic Church in Zambia has been consistent about injustices over the years. The Church has always spoken for the poor and weak. It is obvious today that the UPND and HH are in the weaker position while the PF is using State resources to pin HH and UPND.

    2. The Church on the other hand, may appear to be divided on the HH issue for the simple reason that some members of both the Catholic and evangelical churches leadership have chosen to defend President Lungu as an individual. That is why some people have seen tribalism in those supporting President Lungu.

    3. The actions of the police certainly characterise a hidden hand of power signaling dictatorship. ECL is certainly the beneficiary and ultimately those closer to this powerful individual.
    4. Clearly President Lungu is in a stronger position and does not need to be defended by individuals. He has the State resources to defend him while HH only relies on the law which President Lungu has had the advantage and opportunity to preside over to his advantage.

    5. President Lungu Dictator? The Church has used evidence on the ground to conclude that indeed ECL is a dictator. If ECL were to take his constitutional responsibility to protect HH from injustice not even the most mentally bankrupt UPND cadre would accuse ECL of being a dictator.

    6. HH would not have been charged with treason but something less. The petition would have been heard and the 2016 election results issue would have been resolved.

    7. The Church is looking at societal justice and political vulnerability as well as compassion.

    8. Why would people worry about ECL’s wellbeing today?

    ECL is not in prison charged with a death-carrying offence of treason. Mrs Lungu is not being harassed by police for trying to get food to her beloved husband and father to her children. ECL did not use personal resources to fund a nationwide campaign only to be denied the vote he won by an opponent he strongly believes he defeated.
    ECL was not denied the opportunity to present to courts of law evidence that his opponent cheated. ECL was not faced with 10 out of 14 days to present, defend and prove that ECZ election figures were suspect.

    9. It is almost 3 months since HH was arrested and charged with treason and the State led by ECL has not started the prosecution!!!!!!!! The 3CMBs could not continue to keep quiet or pretend things were ok.

    Real Patriot
    June 22, 2017 at 11:42 pm
    Reply

  14. Please ignore the poor numbering. The argument remains valid.

    Real Patriot
    June 22, 2017 at 11:43 pm
    Reply

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