THE national dialogue and reconciliation meeting scheduled to take place today has been cancelled.
The meeting was to be attended by Presidents and Secretary Generals of all Political Parties.
In a statement yesterday, Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue (ZCID) spokesperson Jackson Silavwe confirmed the development.
Mr Silavwe said the decision to postpone the meeting was taken to allow time for the Church Mother Bodies (CMB’s) and the ZCID board to generate a consensus agenda for the same meeting.
“At the request of member political parties of ZCID, the ZCID Board met at an emergency meeting on 27th December 2018 at ZCID Secretariat and has resolved to postpone the Political Parties Consultative Meeting which is scheduled to take place Friday 28th December 2018,” Mr Silavwe said. He said it was imperative to have a known and concise agenda that has the confidence of all political stakeholders to eliminate any possibility of failure of this important national exercise.
“Additionally, the postponement has been necessitated by the need for the three Church mother bodies and the ZCID Board to conclude negotiations on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and structure of the National Dialogue process,” he said.
And stakeholders are ready to participate in the national dialogue today to be spearheaded by the Church which will be convened at Kapingila House in Kabulonga area in Lusaka.
National Democratic Congress Party (NDC) Consultant Chishimba Kambwili said the party was ready to participate as long as the national dialogue was being led by the Church.
Mr Kambwili said the national dialogue would help to curb the political instability in the country. Mr Kambwili in an interview yesterday said there was need to resolve issues surrounding the political circles and enable the opposition to do their activities freely without being interfered by any forces. “We need to resolve the national issues and ensure that we get back to democracy. There is need for everyone to be given political space to start doing their activities freely,” Mr Kambwili said.
Meanwhile United Party for National Development (UPND) spokesperson Charles Kakoma said the party was ready to take part in the long awaited national dialogue. Mr Kakoma said the party had been advocating for the national dialogue and it was exciting that time had come for the political leaders to meet and resolve issues in the political circles.
Mr Kakoma noted that it was prudent that the country goes to the 2021 polls when peace and unity had prevailed among political party leaders.
“We have always been ready for this important event and we shall participate tomorrow. We have been pushing for this dialogue to take place because we can’t afford to go to the general elections in 2021 with what is happening in politics in the country,” Mr Kakoma said.
United Independent Party (UNIP) deputy secretary-general Alfred Banda had the parties involved to go into national dialogue in a spirit of give and take with humility. Rev Banda said there was need for political leaders to ensure that they put the interest of the nation first.
“The interest of the nation should come first before anything. We should go in that function with a spirit of given and take humility,” he said. National Restoration Party secretary-general Ezra Ngulube said the national dialogue would help the political leaders to give the Zambian people hope that they are able to enhance peace and unity in the country. MMD national secretary Raphael Nakachinda welcomed the move by the Church to start the dialogue process, stating that the party leadership was ready to participate. PF deputy media director Antonio Mwanza urged the Church to be impartial as it convened this important event.
Meanwhile, stakeholders in the long-awaited political dialogue and conciliation must put Zambian interests first and not their own selfish motives, former finance Minister in the MMD regime Katele Kalumba has advised.
In an interview, Dr Kalumba told the Daily Nation that politicians should not betray the trust of Zambians and stakeholders who have initiated dialogue by going in with a pre-determined minds.