THE UPND says the PF should wake up and face a new reality that a steering committee comprised of eminent and respected Zambians, and not ZCID, will lead and direct the dialogue process.
In a statement clarifying the Commonwealth position on the Dialogue Talks in Zambia, UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma stated that the PF were sleeping and dreaming about the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID) leading the process.
He stated that the PF were sleeping and dreaming about the ZCID leading the Commonwealth dialogue talks in Zambia.
“They should wake up and face the new reality that the ZCID will not lead the dialogue process,” Kakoma stated.
He noted that the Patriotic Front had in the last few days tried to mislead Zambians on the Commonwealth dialogue talks in Zambia.
Kakoma stated that the PF had been peddling lies through their deputy media director Antonio Mwanza that the UPND had agreed to have the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID) to lead the dialogue process in Zambia.
“The opposite is true. Antonio Mwanza was deliberately quoting from an old version of the Commonwealth strategy paper, which was proposing to have ZCID to lead the dialogue process in Zambia. The UPND rejected the proposal last year to have ZCID to lead the dialogue process because they have no capacity. Since then, the Commonwealth, in consultation with other stakeholders, has come up with a new and revised strategy paper in which the dialogue process in Zambia will be spearheaded by a Political Dialogue Steering Committee and not the ZCID,” Kakoma stated.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Commonwealth Special Envoy for the Zambian dialogue talks, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, stated at his latest press conference at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka held on 11th March 2018 that the talks would be spearheaded by the Political Dialogue Steering Committee. On page 2 and last paragraph of his press statement, he said and we quote, ‘We have talked about talks for long enough. Now is the time for the dialogue to start. The first step will be the formation of a steering committee comprised of eminent and respected Zambians, which will lead and direct the dialogue process’, end of quote.
This position by the Commonwealth is very clear.”
He also stated that the PF launched propaganda that the Commonwealth dialogue talks in Zambia would be spearheaded by foreigners.
“This is not true also. First of all, Zambia is a member of the Commonwealth and is a signatory to the Commonwealth charter. This position was made very clear by the Commonwealth Special Envoy for the Zambian dialogue talks Prof Ibrahim Gambari in his press statement on the 11th March 2018 at Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka.
He said and we quote, ‘The Republic of Zambia is a respected and valued member of the Commonwealth. Commonwealth values are Zambian values and Zambian values are Commonwealth values. The Commonwealth Charter, adopted in December 2012, sets out the fundamental values of the Commonwealth. These include, but are not limited to, democracy, the rule of law, human rights, peace and security, tolerance, respect and understanding, freedom of expression, the separation of powers and judicial independence’, end of quote,” Kakoma stated. “Is there any value in the above quote which is alien and being imposed by foreigners? What the Commonwealth is doing is to help a member country to restore the lost fundamental freedoms and prevent violations of human rights. Secondly, the Commonwealth dialogue talks in Zambia will be spearheaded by Zambians and not imaginary foreigners. The steering committee that has been proposed by the Commonwealth will consist of Zambians. These Zambians will include representatives of the PF, UPND, the House of Chiefs, Law Association of Zambia, the Church Mother Bodies (the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia and the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ ), Zambia National Women’s Lobby Group, ZCID itself and other civil society organisations. Are these not Zambians?”
He stated that the Steering Committee was the agreed Zambian owned and-led oversight body mandated to steer, manage and coordinate the national dialogue process, under the overall guidance and consultation with the Prof Gambari.
“Below the Steering committee, there will be a Working Group and several sub groups working on how best to achieve the goals and values of democracy, peace, national unity, respect for human rights and freedoms, good governance, end to political violence and attainment of free, fair and credible elections,” explained Kakoma.
“In this process, the key actors will be Zambians sitting in all these committees and making decisions to achieve the desired objectives.”