The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) says failure to manage the dialogue process will deepen scars of the 2016 elections and entrench divisions in the country.

In a statement yesterday, CiSCA chairperson Bishop John Mambo stated that Zambians should give the proposed dialogue a chance as it could bring real healing and reconciliation.

“The importance of the ongoing political dialogue in fostering national unity and political harmony in our country cannot be overemphasized. CiSCA believes that the pillars that underpin this dialogue process, which include among others; electoral and constitutional reforms would result into a meaningful political reconciliation if well managed. We believe so because weak electoral laws, non-adherence to the electoral code of conduct by political players and constitutional ambiguities were at the heart of the political tension before, during and after the 2016 general elections,” he stated.

“It is important, therefore, that people, regardless of position, desist from issuing statements that would put the dialogue process into jeopardy and thereby endanger the peace of the nation and its well-being. As a people, we must never cheat ourselves that the nation has completely healed from the scars of the 2016 general elections. Only the dialogue can bring real healing and reconciliation. In this regard, we urge all Zambians and other interested parties to give the proposed dialogue a chance. Failure to manage this dialogue well may deepen the scars and entrench divisions in our nation.”

Bishop Mambo cautioned politicians and other stakeholders to avoid making statements which could undermine the process.

“CiSCA is concerned by the continued, careless and sometimes seemingly premeditated, utterances from some sections of society which could undermine the ongoing dialogue process which was initiated by the Commonwealth under the leadership of Patricia Scotland to reconcile and heal the nation. For instance, not long ago, the police command issued a warning to people not to use the dialogue process to commit crimes as the law would follow them. CiSCA believes that there is no connection between criminal acts and the ongoing dialogue. The law must follow any law breaker with or without dialogue. In our view, this was not only shocking and misplaced, but also worrying because there is no connection between the ongoing dialogue aimed at bringing healing to a divided nation and the propensity to commit crimes,” he stated.

“We have also heard accusations and counter accusations about the lack of commitment, conditions and preconditions to the dialogue among political players. We wish to restate our position that the only condition necessary for this dialogue to take place is the wellbeing of the nation and the fact that any substitute to dialogue has dire repercussions on the nation. We are concerned that threats of treason have resurfaced again even before the commencement of the dialogue. The nation may recall that similar treason threats and other events that followed later were issued long before the arrest of the six treason suspects who were released on nolle Prosequi. It is sad that these utterances are being made even before the parties to the dialogue process agree on the substantive framework.”