Dr Beyani says ZCID is too moribund to lead the dialogue process
By staff Reporter
UPND chairman for policy and research Dr Choolwe Beyani says relying on a “moribund” Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue to lead the process of dialogue is an experiment in the dark that will subsequently yield nothing.
The much anticipated and talked about national dialogue process stands on a thin line of either failure or success as major parties to the process – the UPND and the governing PF – are opposed on who should lead the process.
The PF have remained resolute that the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID) be the ones to lead the process while the UPND initially favoured the Commonwealth.
As a compromise, the UPND, through its leader Hakainde Hichilema, proposed that the dialogue process be led by the local Church mother bodies but the PF seems averse even to that option.
Speaking on Prime TV’s Oxygen of Democracy programme on Monday night, Dr Beyani reiterated that the ZCID lacked the necessary skill and experience to arbitrate in the process of dialogue.
He also lamented that Zambia’s governance system was currently in limbo.
“We need an outsider to help us [to] arrive at a better Zambia and by an outsider I mean someone outside the political parties like the Church. Our view as a party is that if the Commonwealth is an issue…. At the moment, [depending on] the ZCID to lead a dialogue process is an experiment in the dark. You can’t experiment a major national issue with a moribund organisation! If the Commonwealth is a problem [to lead the dialogue process], we have our own Church mother bodies. Let’s give them that role!” Dr Beyani charged.
“Where we are now our governance system is in a crisis, it’s in limbo. The rights of citizens, people who have been thrown out of employment because they belong to particular regions of the country, random arrests, this can’t continue. Let’s put Zambia [first] and solve the problem of governance. Once we do that…. Let’s put those people who have the capacity to help us, not the ZCID. We are not saying ZCID is full of idiots, no! There are intelligent young people but they don’t have the skill and experience.”
Asked what would happen if stakeholders to the dialogue process, including the State, decided that there would be no dialogue without the ZCID leading the process, Dr Beyani responded: “Then you are pushing the country towards civil strife. Remember, we came out of a [threatened] state of emergency when HH was in prison. That state of emergency was declared on UPND and over 300 of UPND members are still languishing in the jails to this moment. So, we still have political prisoners!”