Inter-party talks cheer opposition 

By Staff reporter

Key opposition political parties have commended the church mother bodies for holding the inter party dialogue process despite frustrations from the Zambia Centre for Inter Party Dialogue (ZCID) and the ruling PF.

The opposition charged that no political party should be bigger than the needs and aspirations of the Zambian people.

Speaking on arrival at Kampingila house in Lusaka today, several notable opposition political parties accused the Patriotic Front for showing lack of seriousness by abandoning such a progressive move that had seen many opposition political parties come together under one roof to try and find a solution to the many challenges faced by Zambians.

The opposition leaders accused the ZCID for attempting to sabotage the process by cancelling the meeting at the last minute and yet they agreed that the church was going to chair the process whilst the former was going to manage the secretariat.

National Democratic Party leader Chishimba Kambwili said ZCID was trying to frustrate the church the same way they frustrated the Commonwealth in mediating the dialogue process accusing the organisation of being a surrogate of the PF who did not have any good will for the process.

“Their goal is to ensure that ZCID chairs this process but we have only agreed to be part of the process if it is chaired by the church and not ZCID. The church gave a notice those who want to come otherwise those who don’t want can join the PF and stay away,” said Kambwili

Others like Socialist Party 2021 presidential candidate Dr Fred M’membe said there was urgent need for the country to move forward because no one should hold the country at ransom as the country needs peace.

“Whatever the situation there is need for the country to move forward. With or without the PF, with or without us Zambia needs to move forward. No one should hold the country at Ransom. The country needs peace, the country needs progress no one is bigger than this country. Whatever the situation Zambia will move forward,” said Dr M’membe.

And speaking on arrival for the dialogue United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema said the process of dialogue is late and long overdue because the people of Zambia were hurting and suffering.

“We must get on with the job. None of us has the luxury of time to wait and pull their legs while citizens are hurting. If we are true leaders we must take responsibility to normalize the situation in our country. There should be no confusion because it was agreed after a long debate that the church leads the dialogue process. The ZCID signed a communique with the church. The nation was happy about it now is the time to get on with the work. I don’t understand the idea of the boycott” said Hichilema.

And adding his voice to the process when he arrived for the talks National Restoration Party (NAREP) president Elias Chipimo said it is important to ensure that the political parties move forward in a unified manner and realize that the people must always come first because there are a lot of vital issues that need to be discussed.

“I think it’s a question of whether we are ready to apply the good will not for the sake of our individual parties but for the sake of the country. Those who are here understand that those who are not here don’t seem to understand that. So the people of Zambia will judge for themselves what the right thing to do is and the right people who are committed to ensure this is done,” said Chipimo.

And Peoples Alliance for Change president Andyford Banda expressed doubt that the PF would come to the discussion table because part of the dialogue agenda is that of strengthening electoral reforms which the PF had been reluctant to change as it favoured them to win elections.

Meanwhile, MMD faction leader Nevers Mumba said there was no progress that could be made without talking and that this was a great opportunity to deal with all those problems that had affected the country.

And Alliance for development and democracy Charles Milupi said it was unfortunate the PF had decided to shun the dialogue meeting chaired by the three church mother bodies.

“Everybody has accepted that the dialogue should be chaired by the church, all political parties have seen the notification that the meeting will be held today no wonder we are here,” he said.

Others seen attending where UNIP’s Njekwa Anamela and other political party representatives that were seen filling into to the building.