The three church mother bodies have complained that they have been knocking on President Edgar Lungu’s door intending to discuss various issues of national relevance to no avail.
And the three church mother bodies have insisted that the Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue has no capacity to successfully facilitate national dialogue and that following ZCID’s methods could lead the church into a ditch.
The three church mother bodies, represented by ZCCB Secretary General Fr Cleophas Lungu, EFZ board chairperson Bishop Paul Mususu, ZCCB president Bishop George Lungu, CCZ president Rev Alfred Kalembo, CCZ secretary general Father Emmanuel Chikoya and EFZ executive director Reverend Pukuta Mwanza were speaking at a media briefing at Kapingila House, Sunday.
Responding to a question on why the church was still moving ahead to draft its own roadmap for dialogue when President Lungu said he might not be part of any process which does not include ZCID, ZCCB president Bishop George Lungu said the church had not received an official communiqué in that regard.
Bishop George Lungu also revealed that the church had been knocking on the Head of State’s door to no avail for sometime.
“Our policy is not to discuss any matters through the media. Until now, we haven’t received any communique from the Head of State clarifying his position. There is no official communication to us that this is his official position and therefore, it may not be right to comment on something that appeared in the media. We are still however looking forward to a time when we will meet the Head of State. We have been knocking on his door and we hope that one day, it will open for us and have time with him to find out how he feels about the process, what he thinks and even have the issues that he feels strongly [about] included on our agenda,” said Bishop George Lungu.
Echoing his colleague’s concerns, Bishop Paul Mususu vowed that the church would keep knocking on President Lungu’s door because as Head of State, he was not expected to shun any citizen of Zambia.
“We have knocked several times at the door and I must mention that even as of last of last week, we had started knocking and we were hoping, hence our queitnes, we were hoping that the Head of State would meet with us and then we share what we are thinking. We have not given up, he is our President, he cannot throw away members, not the church, members of the Republic of Zambia, he can’t, he has to engage with the people of Zambia, which includes the church. So we can go there and share our views with the President but we will avoid by all means to respond to media reports or even some events at the airport as he takes off and lands. I think that is not the way we discuss, we discuss one on one and that is our considered view,” Bishop Mususu said.
And Bishop Mususu insisted that ZCID lacked capacity to pull off a successful national dialogue process.
“There were general secretaries that met in Siavonga, we don’t know where their presidents stand. So we were saying, even in our dialogue with ZCID is that I think we have a difference in approaching the game. If we allowed you to facilitate, you will be taking us to a hall [and saying] ‘can you chair this meeting, we have organised these political parties, can you meet’, our view is that before we make a mess out of this, can we have the stakeholders buy into it. Let’s go to His Excellency the Republican President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and share with him how important this national dialogue is and once he says, ‘yes, this is the way we should go’, at that point, then we can go to the general secretaries because we have the boss already on board. Theirs (ZCID), is the reverse,” he said.
“You can see the theories are different and because of that, it becomes very different for us to simply say ‘let them do the agenda and we follow’, it may lead us to a ditch and we just follow, no. What we are saying is that okay, if you now want us to drive this on, can you ZCID come and say okay, first let’s meet the president and if they agree, that’s fine, we have no problem with that. And I want to clarify to the nation that it is not them and us. This dialogue is not even between ZCID and the church. This dialogue is for the nation and all of us are interested in it bearing fruit. If we were in any way convinced, and this I must say, in our minds we are making sure that we understand the difference between the ZCID board and the stakeholders that form ZCID. If we understood that the board of ZCID had the capacity to do what they are embarking on, and bring all the stakeholders, including the President, we have no problem but you and I know that when you look at the board, when you look at the secretariat, there is a capacity that is lacking. So we can’t do a thing that we are seeing is going to fail us. What we need is the level be raised, and that’s all we are asking.”
He said the church was not fighting ZCID but it feared their approach to the national dialogue process would fail.
“We have met ZCID several times and we have urged them that our engagement at this level should be one of give and take, until we have clarified the roles that we mean by chairing until we have clarified the roles that we mean by facilitating and if they come out and say we are going ahead, we are not fighting them, they are free citizens. And if they succeed, you know brothers and sisters, what we are interested in is people sitting on the drawing table and discuss. Who does what is really not a big deal, we would let go and allow them to do the needful but knowing what we know, we have our own fears that it may not deliver the results that we need,” said Bishop Mususu.
He recalled that the church had been calling for the dialogue and reconciliation way before ZCID came into the picture, therefore, it could not be viewed as a hijacker.
Bishop Mususu also said the church was not taking any sides but was only interested in chairing a genuine dialogue process.