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UNIP cautions against ‘dangerous slide’ in national dialogue process

 

NO ONE wants chaos in this country, UNIP vice-president Njekwa Anamela has told the ruling PF.

He says the lack of political will to do the right thing exhibited so far “is a dangerous slide towards unchartered territory.”

Anamela said the national dialogue bill was the latent aspect that had made it controversial when one proceeds from the point that the process controls the outcome.

 

Government, through justice minister Given Lubinda, is proceeding to present a national dialogue bill to Parliament that would result in the formation of a bloated National Dialogue Forum (NDF).

The NDF’s objective, among other things, would be to provide for a national dialogue process to facilitate the Constitution refinement process, regulation of political parties, public order and electoral process reforms.

The NDF would be headed by a chairperson appointed by the Republican President.

The three Church-mother bodies, the opposition alliance, 10 civil society organisations and two individuals and other independent voices have since rejected the national dialogue bill that would lead to the formation of the NDF.

But Anamela said while as a strategy it would seem prudent to protect the potential outcome of a dialogue process with a legal framework to the same, “its content or design should be agreed by all key stakeholders.”

“In this case, this remains a document by one stakeholder, the PF and its government administration,” he said. “It is therefore perceived to serve the interests of this particular stakeholder as opposed to that of a national cause for a constitution-making process that all can believe in with the resultant legitimacy. We are once again faced, as a nation, with a likely costly and futile exercise whose outcome may not deliver the national constitution our country demands from this process.”

Anamela said going forward, there was no substitute for an ongoing dialogue but that what was required was an honest approach and a guarantee of uncompromising integrity of the process.

He said the coming together of all key stakeholders was the only safeguard to a genuine and legitimate outcome that protects the interests and aspirations of all of “us as a people with a common desire for good democratic governance.” “Any default in this process is a minus towards building on the pillars of our nationhood. The Constitution is a fundamental tool for our national unity. The lack of political will to do the right thing as exhibited so far is a dangerous slide towards unchartered territory,” warned Anamela. “No one wants chaos in this country, and no one should forget that it is a legitimate constitutional process and its legitimate outcome that can hold us together in peace and in love.”

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