SACCORD executive director Boniface Cheembe says Parliament boycotts are not new.
Commenting on the UPND’s decision to shun President Edgar Lungu’s State of the Nation address on Friday, Chemmbe observed that like political violence, shunning Parliament dated back to the MMD era.
“As SACCORD we have taken note of the report over members of parliament belonging to the opposition United Party for National Development shunning what was dubbed the State of the Nation address by President Edgar Lungu, this is something that is not new, this is a culture or a political strategy if you will, just like that of political violence date backs to the era of the MMD, we used to witness a situation where by some opposition political parties used to shun events of a national nature even during the time of the MMD and unfortunately this particular political strategy has continued to date ,” Cheembe said.
He said there was need for dialogue to address the political culture of shunning national events.
“As SACCORD we believe that if they are any political strategies or political cultures that the people of Zambia do not feel comfortable with, it is always important to subject these issues to serious dialogue among those who are affected or who participate in a given the political arena. If shunning events is something that the people of Zambia feel is not helpful, as SAACORD we would want to appeal to the government and the various political parties in Zambia to call for a national indaba on national events that will seek to address any issues that affect the participation of stakeholders in various national events,” Cheembe said.
“If the political strategy of shunning is not helpful or is deemed not to be in line with the prevailing modern needs of the nation, we see no reason why dialogue of such a nature should not be held. What is important is that if there are any issues of political cultures that we feel uncomfortable with as a country be dialogued over and be addressed so that as a people we agree on how we want to conduct ourselves over issues pertaining to a national nature.”
And reacting to President Lungu’s address, Cheembe said the pronouncement made by the Head of State were timely but hoped they would not fail at implementation stage.