Veteran Politician and former finance minister Katele Kalumba says he is worried with the violent conduct of ruling Patriotic Front and the opposition United Party for National Development ahead of the Chilanga Parliamentary by-election.
In an interview with News Diggers! on the sidelines of the National Democracy Stakeholders Summit (NDSS) in Lusaka, Tuesday, Kalumba appealed to the two political parties to discipline their cadres saying violent activities were retrogressive.
“What is happening is worrisome. As a founding member of democracy, I am concerned with what is going especially in Chilanga. We have only one country. There is no other piece of territory that is called Zambia. This is ours together, across these north, south, east and west boarders, is our country. We need to realize that whatever peace whatever development has to take place, it’s out of our collective effort. To our institution development, including our democratic dispensation, can only grow if we as Zambians collectively put our efforts together. Now we cannot develop under condition of violence. So first and foremost, I want to clearly appeal to our fellow Zambians that violence does not bring about development. Violence cannot give a good constitution, violence cannot remove the public order act, it is out of dialogue that we evolve concepts, ideas that guide us. We are a very rational people as Zambians that’s why we have kept the peace for so many years. And this peace can be easily lost if we stop to talk each other. Violence does not win peace or development or democracy,” Kalumba said.
And Kalumba said he expected that the UPND could have confidence in ZCID having chaired it for seven years.
“In terms of what is happening, the statement that you cannot trust an institution you have given yourselves, that is a little bit of a contradiction and we have heard what the liturgy of leadership that has been provided by the UPND for the past seven years, it shows in fact, their confidence in this institution. Whatever capacity exists or doesn’t exist in ZCID, it is Zambian political parties to blame. And they have that obligation to build that capacity. Nobody else can do it for you. It can be facilitated by the Netherlands government, or the Irish government or the Commonwealth but at the end, you want to end up with your own institution which you gave yourselves. Every political party signed on the trust deed which is the Constitution of the ZCID, to adhere to the principles and democracy of dialogue,” he said.
“That’s why it’s called the Zambia Center for Inter-party Dialogue; political parties talking to each other. Now what else are we looking for? I think that was a very significant step taken by all the political parties and we must give confidence to ourselves. And I think I would appeal to my brothers and sisters in UPND to go back to the history of their own leadership, and what it has meant to build this institution to where it is now. The last seven years they have led it and they are not saying they did not leave it properly to build capacity. Now I think from what the guest of honor said, they are actually provided for an opportunity for the establishment or rather the putting together of the political parties’ act. That’s a very significant development, if we can do that, then we can do many things. So, I have confidence that they will reflect on this and they will come back to the process.”
He further appealed to Zambians to give the ZCID the benefit of doubt.
“It’s important to acknowledge the messages that have been said today. We have the capacity to guide our dialogue process. We have the capacity to talk to each other as Zambians we have done it before under difficult conditions and we can still do it. Yes, we could have friend outside who can help us, but we should own the process. Zambia Center for Inter-party Dialogue is a platform created by all political parties. Its non-partisan because all the political parties are represented. And it rotates, as you heard its chairmanship. I was the first chair under the MMD, it came to our colleagues the UPND and later the FDD. So it is a very open, transparent and democratic institution which we as Zambians have created to allow political parties to sit down at the same table and their team of rivals. Yes they are competitive but at a time they have to come together to define the framework in which to operate, as decent civilized institutions,” said Kalumba.