Let’s get on with dialogue, says HH

We are ready for dialogue; we were ready yesterday, we are ready today and we are ready tomorrow, says UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.

“Let’s get on with it,” Hichilema responded when asked for his stance on the now hackneyed topic of dialogue.

For most part of this year, various stakeholders have ‘lost energies’ commenting on the pressing need for dialogue, especially between President Edgar Lungu and Hichilema – the biggest opposition leader in the country.

Hitherto, nothing has materialised as all and sundry seem to be at wanton loggerheads on who should lead the dialogue process.

Hichilema and the UPND have openly indicated that the Church mother bodies would be impartial umpires in the process but President Lungu and his party, PF, fervently favour the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID).

As if to confuse further unsuspecting citizens on the matter of dialogue, some quarters have suggested that the process be led by handpicked ‘eminent citizens.’

However, during mass to mark 5th Republican president Michael Sata’s fourth memorial service at St Ignatius Catholic Parish in Lusaka on October 28, parish priest Fr Charles Chilinda invited President Lungu and Hichilema to go in the Church for a face-to-face reconciliatory meeting.

Fr Chilinda emphasised that his call was an official invitation to the duo and that Lusaka Archbishop Alick Banda would be available to facilitate the pacific meeting of the two rival politicians.

The clergyman cited the reconciliatory meeting of once sworn political enemies, Sata and third Republican president Levy Mwanawasa in May 2008 as one where the Church was tactically involved.

President Lungu, who attended that memorial service on that day, listened attentively, at least by his facial appearance, to Fr Chilinda’s invitation but made no reaction to it – up to now.

Asked to comment on the invitation, Hichilema said: “We respect the Catholic Church, we respect the CCZ (Council of Churches in Zambia), we respect the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia, we respect the body of Christ.”

“After all, we profess to be Christians and the body of Christ is one. The Church has the requisite skills to undertake a complicated process like dialogue. The Church has experience; the Church, as you know, did it before [in] 1991, 2001 and obviously now they can do it. We are ready for dialogue; we were ready yesterday, we are ready today and we are ready tomorrow. Let’s get on with it!” Hichilema told a horde of journalists shortly after attending freedom fighter mama Chibesa Kankasa’s farewell service at the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka on Saturday afternoon.

Source: The Mast

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