The United Party for National Development (UPND) has charged that it is not constitutional or mandatory to greet a Head of State, but mere courtesy.
UPND Deputy Spokesperson Edwin Lifwekelo in a statement says those condemning UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema for not having greeted President Edgar Lungu at the SDA function at Heroes stadium have misplaced illusions and not being fair to him.
Mr Lifwekelo says President Lungu’s protocol officers failed him because they were supposed to lead him to great the invited guests despite him being an invited guest also.
He says FDD leader Edith Nawakwi, former First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa and others merely used their initiative to greet the Head of State which should not be the case.
Mr Lifwekelo points out that late President Michael Sata used to use his initiative to greet opposition leaders especially at funeral church gatherings.
He states that what is disheartening is that President Lungu never even recognized the presence of opposition leaders in his speech.
Mr Lifwekelo says President Lungu missed the opportunity to heal and reconcile the nation as Head of State especially that not long ago at the same stadium the UPND leader was demonized when PF cadres dressed a dog in a UPND attire for which to date the PF leadership has never tendered an apology.
He says the PF and the head of State must first recognize that opposition leaders have a role to play in the governance of the country’s affairs and that in return the opposition will give the Head of Sat space to govern.