PF and NDC are have engaged in pre-national dialogue shadow boxing on the legality of Chishimba Kambwili representing the opposition party he leads as consultant.
NDC vice-president Josephs Akafumba yesterday said the PF should “come to these talks without waving an iron fist or without waving a velvet glove which we now believe contains an iron fists.”
He said PF should attend the talks without attempts to exclude anybody or any conditions.
Responding to statements by the PF that Kambwili, a rebel PF member of parliament, cannot attend the January 18 national dialogue meeting to represent the NDC, Akafumba wondered what the PF was trying to hide which they thought Kambwili knew.
Kambwili is current PF Roan member of parliament, who is also leading the opposition NDC as a consultant.
He has dragged the ruling party to court challenging his expulsion from the ruling party.
PF through its deputy media director Antonio Mwanza has advised Kambwili that, as a party’s member of parliament, he was free to communicate his concerns or contributions towards the national dialogue to the party president Edgar Lungu through PF Copperbelt chairman Nathan Chanda.
Mwanza said the January 18 meeting was a serious one and there was no place for drama, comedy and political immaturity.
“Yesterday [Saturday], PF Roan member of parliament Hon Chishimba Kambwili vowed that the dialogue meeting slated for January 18, 2019 will not take place if he is not allowed to attend. Mr Kambwili said he will forcibly attend as NDC Consultant failure to which all opposition political parties will walk out of the meeting,” he noted.
“What Mr Kambwili should know is that only party presidents and their respective secretaries general will be allowed to attend. Anyone else will not be party to the process. Consultants are not invited and proxies are not allowed. This is a serious meeting. It is not Manyengwe (child’s play). There is no place for drama, comedy and political immaturity. Our advice is that Mr Kambwili as a PF member of parliament is free to communicate his concerns or contributions to our party president, HE Edgar Chagwa Lungu on what will be discussed through the PF Copperbelt chairman, His Worship Nathan Chanda.”
Mwanza advised other opposition leaders to either walk out in solidarity with Kambwili or stay in the meeting and make progress.
“As for us, we will sit in there and discuss with the Church mother bodies and whoever shall remain in the meeting. The people will judge,” said Mwanza.
But the PF’s statement riled the NDC top brass that has maintained Kambwili as its lead delegate to the talks.
“As NDC, we have followed with keen interest the attempts by PF as a party and through its surrogates to stop Dr Chishimba Kambwili to attend the long overdue national dialogue. This dialogue is for stakeholders and for matters of great national importance and therefore political parties, NGOs and other interested groups should be represented by people or individuals of their choice,” Akafumba said.
“As NDC, we have chosen our Consultant, Dr Chishimba Kambwili, to lead our party into the national dialogue. It is our party’s choice to choose who should lead us in the dialogue and it is not for PF or ZCID to dictate to us on who should lead us. Other parties also to chose their representatives and it’s a well-known fact that Dr Chishimba Kambwili is and had been our consultant and this fact is well known by all Zambians. Our party, NDC, will be led by Dr Chishimba Kambwili, the vice-president and secretary general [Mwenya Musenge] and let it also be known that Dr Chishimba Kambwili has been leading us into talks of the Alliance, with our [Opposition] Alliance partners, and other political parties. It will therefore not be new again for him to lead us as a party into the forthcoming national dialogue.”
Akafumba said: ”It now begs the answer, why is the PF so scared or frightened of Dr Chishimba Kambwili’s presence at the talks. What is the PF hiding which they think Dr Chishimba Kambwili knows? How can the whole PF be scared of one man?”
Akafumba advised the PF to respect the NDC’s choice, as they were a fully registered party with liberty to choose who to represent them.
“Their act clearly shows that the PF are not coming to the talks with clean hands and to makes it more strange, the PF, who are just like any other party, organisation or player in this dialogue process, should therefore not choose who should come to represent any other organisation in these talks,” he said.
Akafumba said the dialogue was for open talk involving stakeholders and should be left to individual parties to choose who they thought would represent them fairly and squarely.
“Therefore, the PF should come to these talks without waving an iron fist or without waving a velvet glove which we now believe contains an iron fist,” he said. “They should come to these talks with no attempt to exclude anybody and without any conditions.”