The Zambia Center for Inter-party Dialogue says it is Commonwealth’s responsibility to convince some stakeholders that the centre is the best institution to lead the dialogue process.

ZCID Chairperson Nathan Mulonga also said at a press briefing held in Lusaka yesterday that the organization is not a surrogate of the ruling Patriotic Front as alleged by some political parties.

Meanwhile, Mulonga announced that ZCID would host the National Democracy Stakeholders Summit NDSS from the 15th to the 16th of May where conflicting parties will be brought together to fully understand each other and build consensus on issues of national interest.

“Indeed, yes we would like the Commonwealth around. And I believe that it is the onus of the Commonwealth who says that they have been part and parcel of this process which we started, to clearly come out. I like what President RB said, and I just want to re-echo the same. If the Commonwealth has said that this process should be Zambian led, it should be their responsibility equally to persuade other stakeholders since other people in this nation have indicated, and by the way, ZCID is an institution created by political parties including the UPND, they are part and parcel of this board. And therefore, the issue of the stating credibility when they were sitting and chairing this center for the past seven years rises a lot of questions. What happened then, how did they build capacity? Was capacity only with them? And when the left the board then they took away capacity? It beats a lot when people say such kind of things. I think if there are issues to deal with capacity which they have identified, they should come and say ok, this is own institution in this country, why don’t we address the issue of capacity together? You don’t have capacity, can we capacitate? But you can’t continue saying you don’t have capacity when you can’t even describe that particular capacity. So really, we are inviting our brothers from the UPND who are also part and parcel of this board to clearly state which areas they would like to see capacity built. And that includes any other person who is taking about issues of capacity,” Mulonga said.

“Commonwealth, we have been engaging with them, we have written to them to see how we could proceed together in this whole process. I want to say that we are yet to receive their response in the course of our time. The first step we are having here is just a pre-dialogue event, where we believe that there could have been some people left out in the consultation by the Commonwealth. So therefore, the NDSS is providing that platform for all those that were left out to be part and parcel. And you may know that the Commonwealth did state that we are going to start with the steering committee. We believe as ZCID that that could have been a nomination from either sides, but we believe that the NDSS possibly could come up with that kind of an arrangement in order to steer the next step of our dialogue process.”

Mulonga also said the organization was not a surrogate of the ruling Patriotic Front as alleged by some political parties.

“We are not surrogates of the PF. We know that we have been called that for sometime by some political parties, but we are not surrogates at all. We want to assure you that we will apply all fairness with regards to issues that will come to our attention. We will present them to the rest of the members in order for them to deal with issues,” he said.’

He said ZCID would go ahead with the pre-dialogue process and eventually the dialogue even if the UPND was shunning them.

“The issue of them staying away from the NDSS, I would say that walking away from the table is not the best that you can do. The best you do is to come and say this is our position during the meetings that you are having. Simply saying and stating that we are not coming to that meeting, well it could be their right to do, but as a major political party in this country, they should learn to look at the interest of Zambia first and not just the political stance of the party. It’s our earnest appeal to them to come along side and take part inf the NDSS. What we have as ZCID is the political problems which could be solved by political parties,” Mulonga said.

He said ZCID would formulate a system to ensure that resolutions made were enforced.

“Look, whatever decision will be made during the dialogue, the people who will have to take the resolutions to parliament will be the government and therefore, I see no reason why somebody could be doubting our own processes which will eventually be handed over to government. Let us be honest with one another with regards to this issue of dialogue. So, tell me how else will the Commonwealth force Zambia to say can you amend this, if it is not through the same government? We can put in a mechanism to ensure that the resolutions that come out from the dialogue are enforced. And we can put in an oversight system that can ensure that these issues are done as agreed from summits. Sometimes even in traditional setups where you want to marry a woman, some people in the families are not always agreed to the person you proposed to marry. But eventually when you push in and marry even those who were against will start saying you married the right woman,” said Mulonga.