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Stop skating around with the dialogue process, UPND tells Lungu

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Charles Kakoma

The UPND says it is sad that President Edgar Lungu has failed to come out in the open and state whether he is for the idea of the national dialogue process or not.

The country’s main opposition party says its leader¬†Hakainde Hichilema has been committed to a dialogue process with no conditions despite the PF “skating around the process.”

Yesterday, PF secretary general Davies Mwila announced that the ruling party will work with the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID) to appoint eminent persons to sit on the steering committee on national dialogue.

Mwila was reacting to the decision by the three church mother bodies to pull out of the ZCID-led dialogue process and initiate their own process.

“That statement is meant to sabotage the National Dialogue process being spearheaded by the three church mother bodies. It will take the nation many steps backwards in trying to achieve peace and democracy,” UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said in a statement today.

“The PF and ZCID are basically establishing a parallel structure for national dialogue away from the jointly agreed national dialogue process led by the three church mother bodies in Zambia. It is a clear demonstration that the PF is not committed to national dialogue, peace and democracy.”

Kakoma says his party stands by its all-weather position that ZCID has no capacity to carry out the mammoth task, adding, “We are aware of schemes by Edgar Lungu to keep on skating around the process by continuously stating that he is committed to the process but avoiding all avenues made available by the church.”

President Lungu recently unsettled the three church mother bodies when he issued a statement that he would not take part in any talks without the ZCID.

But Kakoma says the President is insisting on ZCID because most of the small political parties that make up its majority membership are on his payroll.

“He knows too well that he has a lot of patronage from “nashala neka and chipante pante” political parties who make up the majority of membership of the ZCID and are under his wallet.

“Our question to the ZCID is: where were you when the country’s peace was hanging on a thread and a balance following the arrest of UPND President Hakainde Hichilema? Why did you fail to denounce the PF government for the injustice that they committed over the fake treason charge slapped on HH, last year?”

Kakoma added: “It is common knowledge and we are all aware that a huge task such as steering the dialogue talks in which President Hichilema has been calling for major reforms such as Judicial reforms, Electoral reforms and many other institutional reforms requires very independent entities, and the church has a proven track record of helping to resolve conflicts of various magnitude without prejudice.

“The failure by Lungu to state whether he will be part of the dialogue spearheaded by the three church mother bodies is the key to enhancing the talks that the country desperately needs.”

He reiterated that the UPND is of the strong view that the country needs healing and that healing can only be achieved when the key stakeholders and political players get to the round table to address the major challenges facing the country.

 

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31