THE Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes says the recent meeting between President Edgar Lungu and UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema starts the “humanisation process” not only at their level but also at the level of their supporters.
SACCORD executive director Boniface Cheembe said through that humanisation process, the parties involved would be able to make each other comfortable, to sit around the national dialogue table and ultimately address the agenda item.
Last week, the three church mother bodies revealed that they facilitated a meeting between President Lungu and Hichilema on November 12 where the two leaders expressed unconditional support to an inclusive and church-led national dialogue and reconciliation process.
The Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops, Council of Churches in Zambia and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia stated that the “landmark meeting” was held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere and that the two leaders “addressed each other as brothers with great respect for each other.
Cheembe said in an interview that SACCORD was happy that the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue had agreed with the Church on the modalities of undertaking the national dialogue process.
“As SACCORD we had always been of the view that we can’t rush the process without dealing with other outstanding issues that may be of discomfort to not only those who may be charged with the responsibility of facilitating the process but also the stakeholders themselves,” he said. “And we have advised that it is paramount that all issues of a grievance nature are addressed solidly so that a very concrete foundation is laid for the national dialogue process for which it can take off and ensure that once that is the case, the success or chances of it succeeding increase. So we welcome and commend the agreement among the Church and the ZCID. We also want to commend the fact that the two leading parties, namely the ruling PF and the opposition UPND through their respective presidents Edgar Chagwa Lungu and Hakainde Hichilema, have met. That’s one, and secondly have remained steadfast from the time they made public commitment to national dialogue process, they have never backtracked. They have stayed the course and have made it clear that they are in it for the long haul. It is not easy when you are faced with such differences especially when you look at the agenda item that is before the national dialogue process.”
Cheembe said the meeting made for a great week for peace.
“It also in our view starts the process of humanising not only at their level but also at the level of their supporters so that through that humanisation process, we are able to make each other comfortable to be able to sit around the national dialogue table and ultimately address the agenda item that we must address in order for us to continue to make major strides where the governance and democratic process is concerned,” said Cheembe. “So we are happy with what progress has been made but clearly there is still more work that needs to be done in terms of laying out a concrete roadmap and ensuring that the manner and the process the national dialogue process will take will be clear to all concerned with unity and peace in our country.”