On Commonwealth Day, Zambia Awaits The Long Overdue National Political Dialogue
Today, March 12, is Commonwealth Day, which annually marks the relationship and shared history of the 53 countries and 2.4 billion citizens that form the Commonwealth.
Commonwealth special envoy to Zambia Professor Ibrahim Gambari has marked the occasion with an update on the National Political Dialogue, which was first negotiated in August 2017 when the Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland visited Zambia to meet with President Edgar Lungu and UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema, among others. At the time Hichilema was in jail facing charges relating to treason, which were later dropped when the state entered a nolle prosequi in the matter.
The aim of the National Political Dialogue, which will be facilitated by the Commonwealth, is to ensure a roadmap of reform is agreed and delivered ahead of the 2021 elections that promotes peace and builds confidence in the process.
Speaking ahead of Commonwealth Day, Professor Gambari confirmed the formation of the steering committee for the process that is scheduled to be launched on March 26 in Lusaka. Upon launch three working groups will be tasked with examining constitutional and institutional reforms, electoral reforms, and tolerance and civility in public life respectively.