UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma says high profile people like Hakainde Hichilema and his vice Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba will not attend the National Day of Prayer without a formal invitation.
But Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs Reverend Godfridah Sumaili has apologised for late delivery of invitation cards, promising to deliver an invitation to the UPND.
In an interview, Kakoma said the party had not received any formal invitation to the event which was two days away.
“It is not a condition as such, I mean to go to an event you must be invited. And you know that events that are government organized are very difficult to be attended to by members of the opposition especially high profile people like Hakainde Hichilema or GBM. You just don’t pop-up at some event, otherwise you can cause some disruption or confusion,” Kakoma said
“And we have taken note that in the past, the PF and its government have said that UPND are not welcome to attend their prayers because they will be contaminating their prayers. They said that in fact at the first prayer that they organized, that’s what they said. And we also noted in the past that they issued statements that even when they are going to pray for reconciliation, they don’t intend to reconcile with the UPND but any other small party.”
Kakoma said he wanted to make sure that a seat was reserved for his president.
“So given that background, we need to be formally invited, it is not a condition, otherwise people might start blaming to say why did you go there without an invitation. You and me as ordinary people can go, they don’t mind but high profile faces must be invited. They have gone to some places even traditional ceremonies they can’t even reserve a seat for HH. You can imagine such a scenario. So I think we are just being cautious that these things must be done properly. They started this thing some time back, they called for 40 days of prayer and fasting, and they foresaw this event coming, and today, two three days before the event we have not received the formal invitation, what do we do?” asked Kakoma.
But Rev Sumaili said the UPND would soon get an invitation card.
“We encourage everybody to attend because it is a time of blessings. We are one Zambia one nation and we have taken steps to ensure that the invitation cards are delivered. It is only that we delayed in bringing out these cards but they are there and we are going to formally invite them,” said Rev Sumaili in a separate interview.