PF secretary General Davies Mwila says the Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue (ZCID) will lead the political parties dialogue process and not the Church, as directed by President Edgar Lungu last week.

Addressing the press at the party secretariat yesterday, Mwila said President Lungu merely suggested to the ZCID to incorporate the Church in the dialogue process, but not that it should lead the process.

He added that the dialogue process was a party matter being handled by secretary generals and not government or the President.

“The Patriotic Front has welcomed the United Party for National Development (UPND)’s change of heart to embrace a locally driven dialogue process as opposed to the one they had previously insisted on. But I wish to make it clear that the Patriotic Front’s position with regard to national dialogue had not changed. In this regard, there have been consistent appeals from His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu who is also party president, for the church to come on board and play their prophetic role as the moral campus of society. These calls have been informed by our profound respect for the church and historical role it has played in uniting Zambia through the different transitions the country has been through since 24th October 1964 to date,” Mwila said.

“In short, what we are saying is that the position of the party with regard to this process has not changed. We want ZCID to spearhead this process, but ZCID because its composed of all the political parties, it can agree whether to bring in the church or not. It is up to them to decide. So the appeal by the President, the President meant well that the church should come on board. But at the end of the day, it is ZCID to decide. We are not imposing as Patriotic Front, the position still stands. As a stakeholder, patriotic front wishes to repeat its clarion call on the Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue to seriously consider accommodating the church in the national dialogue process. This is in line with the appeal our party president has continued to make to the body of christ that they come on board and join in the national dialogue process. We have said that leadership of this process should also see the church playing any integral role if we are yield the desired results but that call remains to this dat that ZCID must consider serioucsly creating space for the church in order for them to play this profound role in the lives of the nation.”

And Mwila called for discipline in the party, saying only him, President Lungu and Vice-President Inonge Wina could officially speak for the party.

“Last I wish to make a repeated call for discipline in the party by members at all levels. The part will not take kindly to members to abuse their status as members to insult party and government leaders for whatever reason. So I want to appeal to all the members of the party that this matter should be left to the secretary general and the president to talk about this matter. We don’t want any one to contradict what we are saying,” said Mwila.

“The spokesperson of the party is the secretary general and I have said that on party matters, only the President and the Vice-President can overrule me, once I speak I speak for the party. So what I say is what the party has said. The UPND have two representatives who sit on the ZCID board, it means that if ZCID fails, the UPND they are part and parcel of that failure. So they cannot run away from the ZCID. So the decisions that are made in the ZCID includes the UPND.”