PF survival depends on POA – SP

Socialist Party member Faston Mwale says it is not difficult to see that the survival of the Patriotic Front is dependent on the ruthless application of the public order Act to weaken the opposition parties.

And veteran politician Vernon Mwaanga says dialogue is not and should not be a one size fits all process.

Mwale said expecting that the privy meeting between UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and President Edgar Lungu will bring about the much need dialogue is a fallacy of the first order.

Last week, the three church mother bodies revealed that they facilitated a meeting between President Lungu and Hichilema on November 12 where the two leaders expressed unconditional support to an inclusive and church-led national dialogue and reconciliation process.

The Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops, Council of Churches in Zambia and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia stated that the “landmark meeting” was held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere and that the two leaders “addressed each other as brothers with great respect for each other.

Mwale said there was no questioning the fact that Zambia was mired in a web of deceptive politics and as long as people do not make a conscious decision to redefine the political landscape of the country from scratch, they would continue to be foolish victims of deception in deceptive politics.

He said it was easy to understand that political power secured through dishonest means was difficult to sustain.

Mwale said there was a higher probability that the electoral success of the Patriotic Front in the 2016 general elections was dishonestly procured.

“If the PF had legitimately won the election, the issue of dialogue would be history today. We ought to understand that a multiparty political dispensation groomed under a neo-liberal capitalist order is characterised by deceit and cutthroat competition for power,” he said.

He said by reason of the questionable mandate, the Patriotic Front had become the worst repressive regime in the country’s political history.

“President Lungu and the PF are amassing piles and piles of wealth just to keep themselves in power, so any seeming move to dialogue must also be perceived from this angle too. The controversy about the public order Act lies in its biased application,” he said.

“Though not sceptical about the role of the Church in shaping national dialogue, it is, nonetheless, important to disabuse ourselves of the notion that moral persuasion alone will alter the way we do politics in Zambia. If the police are deliberately twisting the POA at the behest of ruling party, then the law must be revised with a view to remove private whims. The POA is in my view at the centre of political controversy and given a chance to dialogue, the matter should be given due priority.”

Mwale said the prevailing deep political divisions certainly do not go well with the country’s worsening social economic situation.

“The Central Statistics shows that 54.4 per cent of the population is living in poverty while 40.8 per cent of the population has been consigned to the most inferior forms of human existence. Yet Zambia as a country is endowed with abundant natural resources but because of backward forms of politics that thrive on deceit, corruption and greed, the majority of our people are at the end of the perking order,” he said. “Quite frankly, multiparty politics is about competition but, equally important, it is about seeking shared solutions for the benefit of a country and its citizens that is paramount. Thus, effective and inclusive dialogue between political parties is an essential element of democratic politics.”

Mwale said conflicts, strife, and polarised relations between political parties could block a country’s development.

“On the other hand, a basic level of trust and cooperation between political parties can pave the way for peace, stability and sustainable growth. If given an opportunity, to broker a peace deal with all political parties in the country, the Church must not be swayed by politics of deception but must uphold the mission of Christ of looking at the poor with meekness and awe. The positive influence of the church can lead to improvements in the material conditions of the masses of our people,” said Mwale.

And Mwaanga says all responsible citizens and institutions should be supportive of the national dialogue process.

He said leaders should ensure that irresponsible elements and hotheads in the their political parties did not derail or undermine the dialogue process.

In a statement, Mwaanga stated that irresponsible communication should be stopped if the purpose of the process was to be achieved.

“I have had an opportunity to welcome the meeting which took place on 12th November, 2018 between President Edgar Lungu and Mr Hakainde Hichilema, the President of the United Party for National Development (UPND). I also paid tribute to the three church mother bodies for arranging and husbanding the meeting. Our two leaders who met and addressed each other as brothers, agreed among others, that there should be an inclusive national political dialogue, without any pre-conditions, to address many troubling issues facing our country and work towards achieving national reconciliation, which is so vital to our country and its people,” Mwaanga stated.
“There are bound to be doubting Thomases both from PF, UPND, other opposition parties, some civil society organisations and some of our citizens. This should be expected, because of where we have come from as country. Confidence building will be required in this process of inclusive national dialogue. For starters, our two leaders should not deviate from what they agreed and must continuously reaffirm what they agreed to take our country forward in peace and harmony. Secondly, they should ensure that irresponsible elements and hotheads in their political parties do not derail or undermine the dialogue process.”
He stated that the media should not be left out of the process.
“Thirdly, the media must also play its part by supporting the dialogue process wholeheartedly and desist from demeaning and undermining the dialogue process through irresponsible reporting and unconstructive reporting, which we see and hear from time to time. All of us have an important duty to discipline our tongues and pens, so that we can all contribute to the success of the inclusive national dialogue.”

Mwaanga stated dialogue should be an inclusive process which should entail not just talking, but also learning from each other.

“Unlike other types of communication, people involved must be willing to address the root causes of the problems before them and not just the symptoms. Dialogue must bring together a diverse set of voices with a view to creating a microcosm for the larger society. My hope is that at the end of this dialogue, the participants will develop a sense of joint owners of the agreed decisions and become joint stakeholders in addressing whatever common challenges may arise in future. Dialogue is not and should not be a one size fits all process,” he stated.

He stated that the participants must recognise each other’s humanity.

“The participants must recognise each other’s humanity, show empathy towards one another, recognise that there bound to be differences, as well as areas of commonalities and agreement. All those involved must have excess luggage of patience,” stated Mwaanga. “I am convinced with seriousness, commitment and goodwill by all those directly and indirectly involved, progress is possible. The benefits of dialogue do not need a thesis in order to be articulated. As Martin Luther King so aptly stated: “We either live together as brothers and sisters, or perish together as fools.”

(By Masuzyo Chakwe and Charles Tembo)

Source: The Mast

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