In this audio, Chief Government Spokesperson Mulenga Kampamba says “we really wonder if the so called forgiveness is there”, in reaction to Hakainde Hichilema’s press briefing in South Africa.

And Kampamba says government is waiting for HH to propose dates for dialogue.

At a media briefing today, Kampamba wondered whether HH was committed to moving forward and making the country governable.

“And in relation to what our political party president said that he has forgiven everybody, we don’t clearly understand the forgiveness with the remembering of what has been said today on various accusations and assertions. So we are made to really wonder whether the forgiveness is there because it brings us much to think whether really our colleagues really want us to move on and obviously have a country that is governable or we are going to keep on dwelling in the past,” Kampamba said.

She also said it was not right to use international platforms to speak on Zambia’s internal affairs.

“So as government, I want to make it very clear that we are committed to making sure that we move forward and we are ready for dialogue and I think moving forward, international platforms are not the way to go as Zambia is a sovereign state governed by its own rules and laws and we are a democratic nation and that can actually be attested to all of us who have come for this press briefing, we are coming from various media houses and all of you are going to speak on behalf of the government in your various spheres so government will not intimidate and government will not at any one time try to hinder democracy so government is still very committed to dialogue,” Kampamba said.

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She also said it was hypocritical for HH to say the Judiciary was compromised when it was because of the same Judiciary that he was a free man and others in his party were also acquitted on various charges.

“Government is once again taken aback sentiments uttered by the UPND leader Mr Hakainde Hichelema in South Africa today when he addressed Members of Parliament belonging to the Democratic Alliance (DA). Mr Hichilema used the platform accorded to him by the Democratic Alliance to denounce the Zambian leadership and called for support from the region to restore democracy in Zambia. Government would be asking for much to expect Mr Hichilema to say positive things about Zambia. But even when he scores points on the international arena, one needs to tell the truth,” Kampamba said.

“Contrary to Mr Hichilema that Zambia’s judiciary is compromised, the judiciary is impeccable and has impeccable credentials to prove that point. Government believes that Mr Hichilema is being hypocritical because it is because of the same judiciary that he is out in South Africa today, if the judiciary were not free, would Mr Hichilema have been released? Is it not the same judiciary that he is painting black that acquitted his vice-president Mr Geoffrey Mwamba, is it not the same judiciary he is saying is not independent that acquitted his senior members Mr Obvious Mwaliteta and Ms Sylvia Masebo?”

Kambampa said government was still confident that HH could contribute positively to the development of the country if only he stopped engaging in rhetorical politics.

“When Mr Hichilema says there is no rule of law, he can point to instances where government abandoned the supremacy of our Constitution. Even on instances where saboteurs have set public institutions on fire government has referred to the constitution without veering of course. Unlike Mr Hichilema’s assertions that there is no freedom of press in Zambia, government is happy that the media that is following Zambian laws is operating freely and its independence is seen in the diversity of voices in both broad casting and print.”

“Unlike Mr Hichilema’s assertions that people in Zambia have been suffocated and cannot express themselves, the media is everyday awash with a variety of views from the people. Government still believes Mr Hichilema and his party can contribute meaningfully to the development of the country if they reduce on political rhetoric and international show booting. Foreigners will not teach us how to govern this country but we ourselves can do that.”

And asked if HH’s statements would frustrate plans for dialogue, Kampamba said government was actually waiting for the opposition leader to propose dates.

“Government is committed to the dialogue and I think what our colleague Hakainde Hichilema should have done is obviously begin to speak to us on dates when the dialogue should begin. We made a commitment when the Baroness [Rt Patricia Scotland] came and I think we are aware she has actually constituted a team to also help in this dialogue, so government has been waiting on our colleagues from the opposition so that we can begin this dialogue. But we find it very inappropriate that before the dialogue, such talks would still continue. It’s quite disappointing but we still believe that we can have meaningful dialogue between our colleagues in the opposition and us in government,” said Kampamba.

Take a listen to the full briefing below: