Dear Editor,

Our media is not watching carefully. I saw your 12 March article which gave details of the plan that the goodly Professor from Nigeria and the Commonwealth brought to Zambia and he said this plan that he proposed will be used to convene a Zambia led dialogue. Zambians need to wake up.

In your article, the goodly Professor Gambari said that he had secured a commitment from Zambians following his consultations. Where did he have these consultations? Were they behind closed doors? If so, with whom? I have not seen any of his consultations televised or heard of any open meetings he had. In a dialogue, transparency is important. Press conferences about closed door meetings does not a dialogue make.

So the goodly Professor had closed door consultations with what he calls eminent Zambians, he then goes away and write a plan and come back here with it. Mr Editor, please research how dialogues have been held in other countries and then give us a critique of the Commonwealth proposal. The Professor disappoints me, as because of his Professor title and background, I thought he knows the basic principles of dialogue and these heavy matters. And what of the Commonwealth? Is this how they do business with an amateur and dangerous approach to serious political matters? What dialogues have the Commonwealth led before?

Daniel Shimunza of the Movement for National Transformation recently said that the Commonwealth was creating a wrong failed precedent to handle global situations which will reduce confidence of other nations in their goodwill, in dialogue processes. There is much wisdom in his warning. What is the Commonwealth agenda with this ill-informed plan? Our church elders who are very efficient in these matters and processes must think the goodly Professor’s plan for dialogue is hilarious. But this is no laughing matter.

Things are not good but there is a Government in this country and the Opposition also has seats in Parliament. Why then is the goodly Professor setting up a Steering Committee that would usurp Parliament or other national bodies when we have enough trouble. Is he here to solve a crisis or to exacerbate it? Why is the Professor creating a Steering Committee entirely outside of Parliament and national bodies and giving what he will determine to be ’eminent Zambians’ a mandate on the affairs of a sovereign country? Zambia needs dialogue but we need to tell the goodly Professor and the Commonwealth to go if they do not know what they are doing before more chaos comes to this country.

This is a country with peoples lives it is not a playground for organisations seeking relevance and do not know what they are doing. The Commonwealth fell in love with other beautiful and fair aspects of Zambia instead of focussing on the task at hand and who can blame them. Tell them to go elsewhere for extended holidays and fun. We may have problems but we do not need a clueless process that will divide us further.

The goodly Professor was going to launch a Steering Committee on dialogue and his plan has different tiers which speak of dialogue between Government and Opposition and yet we have not been told that he has managed to get the two main leaders to meet even in private. Tell us then how was he going to launch a Steering Committee? These are basic things and the Commonwealth should go dabble elsewhere or ask those who know how to do these matters of political dialogue for help.

The goodly Professor came with the old colonial divide and rule style where he spoke to people behind doors, cooked up a plan that cannot pass the smell test, and then have the guts to tell us this is what everyone told him they want. Tell him to take his plan away because Zambia is not a school for rookies, it is a country. No one could go to Nigeria with this so-called plan he has dreamed up. Why does he think it can work here in Zambia? It is an insult and we should say no thanks. Truth be told the goodly Professor and the Commonwealth has made the situation worse because a real dialogue will now always be viewed with suspicion when we never had the process for one.

This so called Commonwealth Gambari plan deserves to be critiqued properly by experts. Please do so.