(By Oliver Chisenga and Masuzyo Chakwe)
I WANT to thank the church for being bold because ZCID wanted to sabotage the national dialogue process, says NDC consultant Chishimba Kambwili.
Meanwhile, the three Church mother bodies have said the launch of the national dialogue and reconciliation process has been moved to Friday, January 18, 2019 to allow enough time to prepare for the event.
He commended the three Church mother bodies for standing their ground and holding a very “successful introduction to the dialogue process.”
Commenting on the outcome of the first national dialogue and reconciliation meeting of political parties’ presidents snubbed by the ruling PF together with the secretariat – the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue – held at Kapingila House last Friday, Kambwili said he was happy that the dialogue process had started.
The rebel PF Roan Constituency member of parliament, who has been victim of police brutality for holding meetings or addressing residents in his constituency, said some of the issues to be tabled could not wait hence the start of the dialogue process was long overdue.
Notwithstanding absence of the ZCID and PF, various political parties converged at the ZEC offices where the dialogue process was set in motion. The opposition parties resolved to move forward with or without PF noting that no one should hold the country at ransom.
They argued that Zambia was bigger than any one political party, individual or an organization but that peace was very cardinal.
Some of the key issues discussed included putting an end to political violence so that citizens can are able to choose their leaders based on who can truly work to deliver development.
The meeting also discussed need for electoral reforms, which was said to be one of the key areas it borders on citizens deciding their destination and not the electoral body being part of manipulating the will of the people.
Judicial reforms were also deliberated noting that the country’s judicial system was one that no longer inspires citizens.
“I feel sorry for those who didn’t come for the for the national dialogue and reconciliation meeting. We had a very good interaction and I think it’s nice that the dialogue process has started,” Kambwili said. “I want to thank the Church for being bold because ZCID wanted to sabotage the whole process but the Church stood their ground and had a very successful introduction to the dialogue process. I am also happy to hear that there will an official launch of the dialogue on the 4th of January . I am very happy.”
Kambwili said some of the issues complained of could not wait.
“Really how can you arrest an MP for addressing his own people? Those are some of the issues that we want to talk about. How can you refuse an MP [the right] to have meetings in his own constituency and that police should give him a permit? How can you refuse other political parties to have meetings when the ruling party is all over having meetings?” he asked.
Kambwili, who represented the NDC together with vice-president Josephs Akafumba, said because President Edgar Lungu wanted to hold on to power illegally he thought he could delay the dialogue process.
“Even having elections in our wards they don’t allow it and if you write them to get a permit they refuse. This simply means there is no multiparty in Zambia under President Edgar Lungu and that is why he was scared of coming to the meeting because he knew that meeting will tell him to do the right thing,” he said. “Because he wants to hold on to power illegally he thinks he can delay the dialogue process but my appeal to him is that please join the dialogue process because we are all stakeholders. And to the friends, the board of ZCID, good luck. You were not there but the meeting went on, how did you feel?”
Kambwili further said some of the issues that would be discussed in the subsequent dialogue meetings would have to be tabled in Parliament for determination and implementation.
“Once we discuss, certain issues have to go to Parliament and the people of Zambia will be able to differentiate sense from nonsense,” said Kambwili.
And in a communiqué yesterday, the ZCCB, CCZ and EFZ hoped presidents would put aside January 18 during their campaigns to be in attendance.
They, however, regretted that President Lungu and other political party presidents could not attend last Friday’s meeting on account that they did not receive the confirmation of the meeting in good time.
They church bodies maintained that their prophetic voice on national issues was solely motivated by their wish to see national unity and a just society where citizens lived in peace with the Lord, with one another and with creation.
“It is also our mandate like the Prophets of old who were instructed to guide the nation,” they stated. “Twenty-three political parties turned up for the consultative national dialogue meeting which lasted over four hours and discussed a wide range of issues affecting the nation. The submissions made to the Church by the political party leaders were very constructive, forward looking and challenging to us as facilitators.”