HAKAINDE Hichilema has called for a soul-searching among leaders and placing the interest of the over 17 million Zambians first.
And NDC vice-president Josephs Akafumba says people should not trust President Edgar Lungu because he never means what he says.
On Friday Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) board chairperson Bishop Paul Mususu said dialogue is the people’s way of reclaiming their vote power.
Political parties in the United Peaceful and Prosperous Zambia (UPPZ), UNIP, Socialist Party (Zambia), Socialist Party (Zambia), National Restoration Party (NAREP), UPND, Nevers Mumba’s MMD, NDC, New Labour Party, Patriots for Economic Progress (Pep) and People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) were present at the event held at the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka.
Others were the Democratic Party (DP), Republican Progressive Party (RPP), Alliance for Development and Democracy (ADD), United Democratic Party (UDP), Economic, Equity Party (EPP) and United for Better Zambia (UBZ), among others.
The event was also attended by the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Eddie Mwitwa, chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo II of the Soli people, and some diplomats accredited to Zambia.
However, the PF, President Edgar Lungu and party leaders aligned to the PF, including the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue shunned the event.
Commenting on the launch of the national dialogue and reconciliation by the three church mother bodies at Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Friday, Hichilema said dialogue was the only way out of Zambia’s current malaise.
He said leaders had committed themselves to placing the interest of the country first before anything else.
Hichilema also said the leaders had committed to the national dialogue and the church.
“We are Christians and this is why when entreated by our church mother bodies to join in the national dialogue we, without any hesitation, turned up and we shall continue doing so,” he said.
“This is because a country whose citizens don’t talk to each other cannot make progress. In fact, God our creator does not rejoice seeing His children maiming each other. We shall wait upon the church to further guide us and as stated, this dialogue is not about Hakainde or indeed any other citizen but it’s about restoring normalcy in our country, freedoms and rights, good governance, peace and stability for development to thrive.”
Hichilema noted that by the turn out to Friday’s national dialogue launch called by the Church, citizens clearly showed that they were agreed on the need to move “our country forward.”
“Over time and in our journey of seeking public office, we have learnt the art of listening to everyone, including those who do not agree on how we should run public office and this we shall continue doing even when in government. This is because we will not only want to make our democracy thrive but also our Christian faith,” Hichilema said. “To those that may not agree to the church led dialogue, we say: search your souls; there is still time for soul searching and placing the interest of the over 17 million Zambians first.”
Hichilema said he remained optimistic that the current national dialogue would yield positive results that would not only please Zambians but also the region, world and, above all God.
“To those that turned up to what we believe is God’s call, we say: let’s continue placing humanity and our people’s desires first before self-glory. For the desires of peace and stability for development are what our creator, God loves,” said Hichilema. “And let’s all remember that it’s Zambia and Zambians first.”
And Akafumba said the PF was never and has never been interested in peace and unity.
“Zambians have shown that they can meet under one roof as brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers despite having divergent views. The dialogue process, which has started is a milestone for Zambian politics and this will lead to many more things to come for the prosperity of our country. We should never allow a few individuals to hold the nation at ransom for their selfish interest,” he said.
“Zambia is bigger than the PF, it is bigger than President Edgar Lungu and anyone who sits on the ZCID. I was so happy to see the zeal and eagerness in all that attended to get things moving for the sake of Zambians. Our people are suffering untold misery, poverty is awash everywhere one looks amidst all the rich natural resources we are endowed with and yet President Lungu wants to hide behind the lavish wall of State House as if he was born there and will live there all his life. I want to urge all those that attended the dialogue process and all the Zambians never to ever trust President Lungu; he never means what he says all because of ego. Remember that the Bible in Titus 3:10-11 says that: ‘As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.’”
Akafumba said the PF was always excited to use the police to brutalise Zambians behind the guise of the public order Act.
He further appealed to Zambians to trust the Church in leading the fight for democratic reforms through dialogue.
Akafumba wondered why the PF chose to stay away when they were the ones who were particular on who should attend the event.
He said the PF never wanted to have the NDC consultant Chishimba Kambwili attend the dialogue process.
“The statement to say that President Lungu was never invited is absurd; it was a way of circumventing the dialogue process. Had the process failed, the PF would have been dancing on the ceiling but now they are licking their wounds and have been exposed,” said Akafumba. “President Lungu has been on record saying that he wants to dialogue and he knows the dates of the process and he could easily have endeavoured to attend being the Head of State. There is no way he could have been called as a gatecrasher. Anyway, the PF will always dance and drink to the success of police brutality against the opposition, UNZA students and civil rights advocates using the veil of the public order Act.”