President Edgar Lungu has directed Justice Minister Given Lubinda to put on hold the constitutional reform process to pave way for a fruitful dialogue process without interference.

President Lungu made this directive during a closed-door meeting with ZCID officials at the Patriotic Front Secretariat, Thursday.

Zambia Center for Inter-Party Dialogue (ZCID) board member Raphael Nakacinda confirmed this to News Diggers in an interview.

“Today we meet the Head of State Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu at the Patriotic Front Secretariat where we consulted with him and part of the PF leadership on the dialogue process and shared with him the roadmap. Among other things, what we were able to achieve in the meeting was a commitment from the Patriotic Front to participate in the dialogue process all the way to the very end unconditionally. And they reaffirmed their confidence to the ZCID being a locally established institution on behalf of political parties that plan to resolve any issues that maybe political in nature and also deal with governance issues. And some of things that were highlighted were basically the concerns that we have gathered from different stakeholders in view of the dialogue process. And we also raised with the Head of State that there is already an on-going constitution review process that government has undertaken, and we took a view that without the dialogue process being concluded, that act in itself would go to undermine the dialogue process. And the president did commit himself that he is going to direct, and he did direct immediately the Minister of Justice to halt the constitutional reform process waiting for the completion of the program of dialogue that we have set out and also to undertake consultative process through the ZCID of all stakeholders on the constitutional making process,” Nakacinda said.

“Together, we can have an input and ultimately build the confidence required that whatever document we make with this amendment will be a people driven document. Of course, we can’t take away the leading role that government needs to take in this matter. Same applies to the public order act, same applies to the electoral reforms, in terms of the electoral act. So all that came into the fore and government has committed that they will put everything on ice until this process has been undertaken so that the views and concerns and opinion of all stakeholders are brought on board on this subject.”

Nakacinda said President Lungu’s heed to meet ZCID officials demonstrated that he was a listening Head of State.

“We actually did request the Patriotic Front that we would love to meet the president of the Patriotic Front at PF secretariat. Symbolically to demonstrate that we are engaging him as one of the political players in this country. He could have chosen to meet us at State House. But we are grateful that he heed to our request and was able to scale down and come and meet us at the party secretariat as one of the party presidents in the country. Same way we have met other party presidents such those at the UPND, that of FDD, that of MMD and we also were able to meet the former first republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda and obviously the other consultative programs will be notified as we go but I think that is symbolic in itself that the president is willing to scale down or come down as a political player and be engaged on all matters that are poltical in nature or related to governance so that we can be able to chat the way forward together collectively on how Zambia, how we envision Zambia to be in the nearest future,” he said.

He urged Zambians to trust ZCID to carry out a fruitful dialogue process.

“Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, the UPND did not attend. Our view as ZCID remains that our doors are open for everybody and we will continue to engage all stakeholders, particularly members of ZCID including the UPND which is a member of the ZCID as were even privileged to have been leading the ZCID board as chair for a number of years until just a few months ago when the tenure of office came to an end and FDD was elected to chair the board. So, I think it is important that Zambians give support to this home grown initiative process in a dialogue to make sure that we have home grown solutions what maybe troubling to the political space of our country. Let us not always have the attitude of undermining ourselves, even when there is a golden opportunity you don’t utilize it. I think its important that we begin to think of ourselves highly because many objectives are not always suspicious that maybe others have been compromised and they will be compromised,” said Nakacinda.

“I think that attitude when it comes, it goes to show that sometimes we are not confident of ourselves that we can rise above personal gratitude to really advance national interest. I think that’s what we want to demonstrate as ZCID. You see the only thing we can do is to demonstrate sincerity, honesty in the process. And genuinely in our discourse. And in the Zambian people who are the supreme judge, will be able to determine who are being sincere here and who are being detrimental and conducting themselves in a manner that is detrimental to the development of the country.”