Young African Leaders Initiative President Andrew Ntewewe says the church must not hijack the national dialogue process because ZCID is the right organization to handle all matters regarding political parties in Zambia.

And Ntewewe says the church must know that Zambia is neither in a crisis or in a war situation.

In a statement, Tuesday, Ntewewe said the back and forth on who should spearhead the dialogue process was retrogressive and asked the church not to hijack the process.

“We at the YALI have noted with grave concern the position taken by the Church to spearhead the national dialogue process by themselves to the exclusion of other key stakeholders such as the Zambia Centre For Inter-party Dialogue (ZCID). What is particularly perturbing is that the church seems to be oblivious and insensitive to the challenges we have recently faced to actualise this long awaited national dialogue. This back and forth in this process only serves to erode public confidence in the process and it is generally retrogressive. The position taken by the 3 church mother bodies seems to negate the strides that political parties have so far undertaken to achieve to much anticipated dialogue,” Ntewewe stated.

“The nation will recall that not long ago Secretary Generals of political parties gathered and met in Siavonga to iron out this very important matter. We were all pleased at the outcome of the Siavonga deliberations were political reaffirmed their commitment to the national dialogue process were both the church and the ZCID would play but equally important roles. What has happened to this position? Are the three church mother bodies telling us that the efforts made by the political parties themselves under the auspices of ZCID useless? The 3 church mother bodies must not appear to be making attempts at hijacking the dialogue process when we all as stakeholders know that when it comes to dialogue among political parties, there exists an umbrella organisation called ZCID. There can not be interparty dialogue therefore without ZCID. Let’s capacitate ZCID by ensuring they play their role in national dialogue.”

And Ntewewe told church mother bodies that Zambia was not in a crisis neither was it in a war situation.

“YALI would like to put it on record and remind our beloved church mother bodies that Zambia is not in a crisis, neither are we in a war situation. All the institutions of governance are intact. It’s also very critical to indicate that there is no legitimacy contest, the elections of 2016 are beyond us and we have a legitimate government in place. We are of the view that the national dialogue process, must not be mistaken for a reconciliation between and among our political leaders. This is a national dialogue, for heaven’s sake. It must not leave anyone behind,” he stated.

“In fact, it must be understood that this process is also about reforms which will affect all the citizens of this country. It requires key expertise by different stakeholders. Hence no one single entity must bulldoze it’s importance. This nation dialogue is about building a long term, sustainable peace architecture and the institution well placed to do that is the ZCID. We therefore must capacitate ZCID for this long-term process as dialogue and constant engagement is the hallmark and bedrock of a strong well functioning democracy.”

Ntewewe asked the church not to be derailed by by-partisan processes at the expense of tending to God’s flock.

“Peace building, conflict resolution mechanisms, detection and early warning signs of conflict and general by-partisan engagements will be central to the long-term national dialogue process hence the need for ZCID to be a critical partner in this process. With due respect to the Church, they can not sacrifice their prophetic calling and the demands of constantly tendering to God’s flock at the expense of being engaged in these never ending by-partisan processes which will always be with us,” stated Ntewewe.