UPND, NDC reject Edgar Lungu’s conditions for inter-party dialogue

President Lungu with other Heads of States at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
President Lungu with other Heads of States at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) have rejected President Edgar Lungu’s suggestion for the Zambia Center for Interparty Dialogue to spearhead the dialogue process being facilitated by the Commonwealth.

UPND President Hakainde Hichilema says he finds it preposterous that President Lungu and the PF can now turn back on the Commonwealth supported dialogue after the assurance he gave them barely a month ago.

Mr Hichilema has since described as unfortunate President Lungu’s statement giving conditions for dialogue.

He says dialogue should be unconditional.

And the National Democratic Congress (NDC) says the participation of foreign players in finding a lasting solution to the political tension in Zambia will not in any way take away Zambia’s sovereignty.

Reacting to President Edgar Lungu’s statement that it is wrong for external forces to lead the dialogue process with set conditions in a sovereign nation like Zambia when the country was not even on fire, NDC Secretary General Mwenya Musenge has questioned why President Lungu and the PF are skeptical to have independent players drive the dialogue process.

He says while the PF has been in the forefront perpetuating discontent and rivalry in the country, including persecuting opposition political leaders using state apparatus and denying opposition political groupings permits to hold meetings, the Zambia Center for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID) which President Lungu wants to drive the dialogue process has remained mute in all this.

Mr Musenge says the ZCID’s ability to handle and mediate over the dialogue process is highly questionable.

He has also questioned the genuineness of President Lungu’s call for dialogue.

He says the NDC therefore finds calls by President Lungu for the ZCID to superintend over dialogue with the stakeholders questionable, suspicious and highly implausible.

Mr Musenge has urged President Lungu to allow external players to fully participate in the dialogue process not as observers, but as adjudicators.

And the NDC Secretary General has urged President Lungu to ensure that the Public Order Act is taken to Parliament for amendment.

Mr Musenge notes that the POA has been the major source of political tension in Zambia and that as NDC, they demand that this archaic piece of legislation be repealed.