'Lungu’s stance on talks goes against the spirit of the dialogue' - Hichilema
Opposition United Party for National Development president Hakainde Hichilema has responded to President Edgar Lungu’s pronouncement that dialogue would only go ahead under the umbrella of the Zambia Centre for Inter Party Dialogue.
Hichilema says President Lungu’s stance goes against the spirit of the dialogue process that has been under the wing of the Commonwealth.
Below is his full statement:
Thursday 5th April 2018
DIALOGUE SHOULD BE UNCONDITIONAL
The statement by State House quoting Mr. Edgar Lungu giving conditions for dialogue is very unfortunate to say the least. But for us who have known Mr. Lungu and his PF leadership for changing positions on many issues, this does not surprise us.
They have changed position on economic, social and political issues in their famous “chipante-pante” fashion. These inconsistencies have led to the current social, economic and political challenges the country is facing.
On the issue of dialogue, Edgar Lungu and his PF leadership have been quoted on several occasions saying there was no tension in the country and have never seen any need for dialogue with anybody.
In a few instances they indicated willingness for dialogue, it has been on condition that they can only sit with those who recognize their President as the republican President based on the disputed 2016 elections outcome.
With impunity and in total disregard of the spirit of dialogue, which among other things demands consultations among parties, they have unilaterally gone ahead with the process of amending the constitution again. Yet this is the same document we had warned about in 2015, that it had several flaws.
We have no doubt that the PF leadership under Edgar Lungu is happy on the same path with the continued political tension in the country. As UPND, we would like to reiterate that we are available for unconditional and genuine dialogue in the spirit of moving the country forward.
So far, a lot of preparatory and ground work has already been done to set the right environment for the dialogue. We find it preposterous that Edgar Lungu and PF can now turn back on the Commonwealth supported dialogue after assurance he gave them barely a month ago.
Dialogue should be unconditional and we are surprised at the comments Edgar Lungu made while meeting with the UN Resident Coordinator.
And since Edgar Lungu made the preconditions for dialogue while meeting the UN Resident Coordinator Janet Rogan, we challenge the UN and particularly UNDP and the Electoral Commission of Zambia to publicly release the November 2017 ‘Conflict Structural Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) – Zambia’ report which was Supported by the UNDP Support to Election Cycle Project in Zambia.
We want the Zambian people to see this report together with the full recommendations made in there.