DIALOGUE is not for the church or the opposition but for the people of Zambia and for posterity, says NDC vice-president Josephs Akafumba.
Reacting to four opposition political parties leaders, FDD’s Edith Nawakwi, Rainbow Party’s Wynter Kabimba, an MMD faction’s Felix Mutati, and ULP’s Sakwiba Sikota who alleged that the Church-led national dialogue process was only important if it guaranteed UPND and its alliance parties a gateway to State House in 2021, Akafumba said dialogue must be seen to be a process that would level the political playing field.
“Zambians have for a long time been complaining of the uneven political playing field. Women have complained of being left behind despite the various protocols at regional and international levels to allow more women participate in politics. We have been complaining time and again against the ever-increasing violence during campaigns. We have cried against the abuse of the Public Order Act,” he said.
“We will continue crying until things change and things can only change through dialogue. This process is not for the UPND. It is not for Hakainde Hichilema or President Edgar Lungu. It is not for
Chishimba Kambwili or the church but it is for the people of Zambia and for posterity. We have a chance to make things better for posterity, so we need to do it or risk being judged harshly, say 50 to
100 years from now,” Akafumba said.
He appealed to the four opposition leaders to see sense in the dialogue process instead of throwing it out of the window.
Akafumba said the dialogue process required the valued political experience of Nawakwi for the sake of the Zambians women.
“She can and has the potential to make the men in the dialogue process see a woman’s side of the current political scene, we need her and she should come in and help Zambia,” he said.
Nawakwi said the national dialogue was only important if it guaranteed the UPND and its alliance parties a gateway to State House in 2021.
“It is a vehicle for regime change and nothing else. A United Party for National Development in power would see no need for such dialogue. This agenda by the United Party for National Development and its Alliance parties has many players. This was clear from some of the speeches delivered during the purported launch on 18th January 2019,” said
Meanwhile, UPND Central Province chairman Albert Chifita said the national dialogue is not about regime change.
In a statement, Chifita explained that the national dialogue was meant to address contentious issues in the country’s governance system with the view to attaining peace and reconciliation among citizens.
“We have noticed that some opposition political parties with hidden agenda are trying to deceive the general populace in the country that some opposition political leaders want to use the national dialogue with the sole objective of ensuring that there’s regime change. What the Zambian citizens should know is that this national dialogue is not just for politicians but for all Zambians,” Chifita stated. “The objective of the national dialogue is to ensure that stakeholders sit round the table and address contentious issues in our governance system so that we attain peace and reconciliation among citizens as we head into the next general elections.”
Chifita stated that true reconciliation and sustainable peace would only be attained if credible institutions were allowed to facilitate the national dialogue process.
“We have noticed that some political parties have ganged up using the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue in order to hijack the national dialogue process with a view to champion their selfish interests,” Chifita stated. “We are of the view that true reconciliation and sustainable peace can only be attained if, as a nation, we allow credible institutions to lead the national dialogue process,” Chifita stated. “And that is why majority stakeholders have continued supporting the Church to lead the national dialogue process. The Church has demonstrated before that they have the necessary skill and experience to broker peace in the nation. The Church bodies have been tested and are credible institutions to facilitate the national dialogue.”
Meanwhile, Chifita expressed optimism that the UPND would scoop the Munyama ward by-election.
“As you may be aware, the Munyama ward was previously held by a UPND councillor, but sometime last year he resigned citing personal reasons; thereby causing this local government by-election. But I can tell you that the campaigns are going on well and the ground is very fertile for the UPND,” said Chifita. “And I can confidently tell you is that the UPND will scoop the Munyama ward by-election. Unless a miracle happens, we are winning the Munyama ward by-election.”
The ruling Patriotic Front is fielding Gregory Makungu while the UPND has Jacob Njovu as its candidate in the Munyama local government by-election slated for February 12.