The Civil Society Constitutional Agenda (CiSCA) says the church is better suited to lead the dialogue process because it demands respect from both local and International players.

And CiSCA says President Edgar Lungu’s continued comments on his 2021 eligibility when the matter is still before the Constitution court makes one wonder whether the outcomes of the case have already been pre-determined.

Meanwhile, CiSCA has also condemned President Lungu and his Religious Affairs Minister Godfridah Sumaili for remaining mute on the crude insults traded between Amos Chanda and Chishimba Kambwili.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lusaka, Thursday, CiSCA Treasurer Judy Mulenga condemned institutions which had been bashing the church over its stance on national dialogue.

“CiSCA has noted the controversy around and the fight for the leadership of the proposed national dialogue and reconciliation. The fight as to who should lead the dialogue between the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID) and the church is unprogressive and must be resolved immediately. Under normal circumstances, Zambians should have allowed the church to handle the process because it commands national and international respect from both local and international political players. It would be sad and hypocritical, in a Christian nation to demonise the church and describe it as lacking moral standing to mediate in the political crisis that is damaging the country,” Mulenga said.

“Therefore, CiSCA supports the role of the church in spearheading national dialogue. Those who are against the church taking lead must realise the importance of the church’s role in such matters from the history of our country. We urge all Zambians to rally behind the church-led national dialogue. CiSCA will not be part of the group of citizens to frustrate the efforts of the church based on political formation but will continue to support church efforts in given that the pioneer of the said dialogue at a time when it was very unfashionable to talk about the national dialogue and when ruling elites and their sympathizers denied the existence of political tension and crisis in this country.”

And Mulenga said President Lungu’s continued comments on his 2021 eligibility when the matter is still before the Constitution court makes one wonder whether the outcomes of the case have already been pre-determined.

“President Lungu has continued to make running comments on his 2021 eligibility bid as a presidential candidate for the 2021 general election when his eligibility case is currently before the Constitutional Court and has not been decided. This begs the question as to whether the outcome is already pre-determined? This regardless, amounts to abuse of his authority given to him under the Constitution. His actions and utterances are therefore inimical to his oath he swore of protecting and upholding the constitution,” Mulenga said.

Meanwhile, Mulenga said it was shocking to hear unprintable insults between State House Press Aide and the Roan PF member of parliament in a country calling itself a Christian nation.

“The Civil Society Constitutional Agenda (CiSCA) has noted with concern, the continued assault to Article 8 of the Republican Constitution that prescribes national values and principles that the Head of State has sworn to promote and uphold. CiSCA is dismayed and appalled by the silence of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and the Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs who must have the primary custodians of these values. The crude insults and other unprintables traded between President Edgar Lungu’s Press Aide Amos Chanda and National Democratic Congress (NDC) consultant, and Roan PF member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili were shocking in a country calling itself a Christian nation whose national values and principles of morality are enshrined in a constitution,” she said.

Mulenga said President Lungu should have reprimanded his Press Aide for his utterances against the people living with HIV/AIDS.

“Further, the mocking, indirect stigmatization and discrimination of persons living with HIV and AIDS and those affected by Amos Chanda was very unfortunate and concerning. Mr Chanda’s utterances should have attracted serious reprimand from the appointing authority, but lack of it, is a clear demonstration of government’s lack of commitment and sensitivity to matters that concern ordinary citizens and has the potential to reverse the gains made so far in reducing stigma and discrimination based on one’s HIV status. Perhaps this is no wonder the country had experienced a loss of HIV testing kits from the Ministry of Health under the watch of the authorities with lukewarm response against the culprits. Therefore, we condemn the trading of insults by senior leaders and their lack of respect for the people living with HIV,” said Mulenga.