FORMER president Rupiah Banda says the Church should first talk to incarcerated UPND president Hakainde Hichilema before calling for dialogue, accusing the opposition leader of being behind the current political tension in Zambia.
Speaking to journalists yesterday after laying wreaths on former president Frederick Chiluba’s grave during his memorial service, Banda said the Church should first counsel Hichilema whom he said was the source of confusion for refusing to concede defeat after the 2016 presidential elections which he is contesting in court.
The church should counsel Hichilema to concede defeat. Him refusing to accept losing an election is the source…of all these misconceptions and assertions that the country is in dictatorship…When we have an election and it has been declared, we are supposed to accept. Dr Kaunda did it, I did it and I hope the others will learn to do that,
Let’s assume he wins the election in five years and the current government loses and he wins, our brother who is in prison, we will expect that people should accept. If he does not accept now, why would he expect people to accept when he wins?
Meanwhile, Banda has appealed to the government and society to give more recognition to Chiluba.
He said Chiluba was not only the father of democracy but his path to it raised a voice for civil society and trade unions.
Banda further said Chiluba had been acquitted of the ’embarrassing charges’ he had been accused of and therefore needed to be accorded befitting memorials.
Chiluba’s ex wife Vera attended the memorial together with her children.
Others present included former ministers George Chulumanda, Peter Machungwa, Kalombo Mwansa, Eric Silwamba and Lameck Mangani.