The Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue (ZCID) has established a committee of eminent persons who have been approved by political parties to chair dialogue.

ZCID Spokesperson Jackson Silavwe disclosed in a statement that the constituted committee is comprised of; House of Chiefs Chairperson Chief Ngabwe; Senior Chief Madzimawe of the Ngoni people of Chipata; Zambian politician and businessman Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika and former FDD vice-president Chifumu Banda.

“As communicated in the press statement of 24th August, 2018, political parties from both in and outside parliament under the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue, convened and devised an alternative to drive the stalled national political dialogue process forward. Political parties agreed to have local eminent persons to chair the national political dialogue. Thus, the following local eminent persons have been proposed and approved; Chief Nga’bwe, Senior Chief Madzimawe, Mr. Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika and Mr. Chifumu Banda. The eminent persons have since all agreed to take up this important national assignment to reconcile the political leaders and preside over reforms based on the four broad thematic areas namely; constitutional and Institutional reforms, separation of powers and judicial independence, tolerance, freedom of assembly and civility in politics and electoral reforms,” Silavwe stated.

“In view of this development, it is envisaged that the national dialogue process can finally take shape and take off before the end of 2018. The nation, political parties and stakeholders will be briefed accordingly on a detailed road map onwards. The Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue (ZCID) expresses its profound gratitude to the eminent persons and assures them of its unwavering support.”

And Silavwe wondered whose interests the church was serving.

“ZCID embarked on the path of identifying the chairperson (s) of the national political dialogue after discussions with leaders of the three church mother bodies namely; Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ), Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) and Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) failed to agree on the process that encompasses all the stakeholders as equals in national interest. The nation, political parties and stakeholders may wish to recall that the Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue called upon the leaders of the three Church mother bodies to chair the national political dialogue with a tripartite facilitation of ZCID, Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and again the Church mother bodies to perform the secretarial services to the process. Regrettably the leaders of the three Church mother bodies demanded to both chair and facilitate the whole process alone to the exclusion of key stakeholder,” stated Silavwe.

“On 14th September, 2018 the board received a letter from Caritas Zambia, inviting the full board of ZCID to a ‘consultative meeting’. The board declined to attend the meeting as it was not clear in what capacity and scope was Caritas Zambia doing the same, bearing in mind that the Board was directly discussing with the leaders of EFZ, CCZ and ZCCB respectively. Further political parties under ZCID have received individual letters from the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections (JCTR) requesting them to attend ‘consultative meetings’ in their individual capacity. It is clear now to all well meaning stakeholders why organisations affiliated to the church mother bodies such as Caritas Zambia aggressively opposed the involvement of ZCID in the national political dialogue from the outset all because of vested interests. The question is, whose agenda and interests is the national dialogue solely chaired and facilitated by the leaders of the three Church mother bodies and their affiliates promoting?”