Foundation for Democratic Process executive director Chimfwembe Mwenge says President Edgar Lungu and his UPND rival Hakainde Hichilema must end their ‘tit for tat’ game by emulating North and South Korea.

In an interview, Mwenge observed that if North and South Korea, which had deeper differences, could reconcile, then President Lungu and HH could do the same if they made a real effort.

“The question we should ask is what kind of country do they want to leave when their careers come to an end? Do they want to leave a country that is rotten? Let’s take an example of North and South Korea. First of all, we must appreciate that the concept is different, North Korea and South Korea were at loggerheads. They actually went to war against one another. Yet they managed to bury their differences and forge ahead. The situation in Zambia is not as dire as it was in North and South Korea. The difference there was huge, yet they resolved to become peaceful nations. But you see the problem with our leaders here is that they lack statesmanship. They lack statesmanship and that is why they can’t come together. These issues surrounding these two can be resolved quicker than you think if they become statesmen,” Mwenge said.

He said although Hichilema had raised critical governance concerns, it was necessary to look past them for the sake of the people.

“What we are saying is that much as there are difficulties in our governance, which of course the UPND leader has highlighted even in the courts of law, which we agree with him, but at the end of the day we need leaders who can see the bigger picture. Do they think that what they are doing is driving the broader interest? Very important. That is why when you look at the late leader Michael Sata who equally was in opposition and had the same concerns, did not hold on to the arguments. He is a man whom several politicians say he was a mature politician, because for him he knew that it is much more important to help address the challenges of the people than clinging on to a lost victory, for instance; whether you see that victory as hope for you or not. Michael Sata was a man who read the time. He knew when to hold on to the victory and he knew when to focus on helping people and when to hold government [to] account. But the problem with our two leaders is that they are in a tit for tat game where if the former does something hurtful, the latter wants reprisal. And that is why we are saying our leaders need to look at the bigger picture,” said Mwenge.

“They should also look at the kind of country they want to leave behind because they won’t be in leadership positions forever. What we are saying, much as you want to be in [a] leadership position; what is the broader sense? How does that benefit the innocent Zambians? Is what you are doing in the interest of the Zambian people? We have seen the effects of actions like these. We have seen what the end result can be, but who does it benefit? If our leaders are not able to look at the broader picture, then they are missing the big part. Because at the end of the day, who is a politician? What are political parties? What are they for? Basically, they are representatives of Zambians. They are where they are because of the interest in Zambians.”