Patriotic Front Mobilizing Committee Chairperson Dr Charles Banda has threatened to have President Edgar Lungu removed from upcoming dialogue process if no respect is given to him.
And Banda says the opposition should not use the dialogue process to embarrass Lungu.
This is according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Tourism Public Relations Officer Sakabilo Kalembwe, Thursday.
“Speaking in his office this morning, Dr Banda who is also Minister of Tourism and Arts said the initiative by the three Church Mother Bodies is good but that the dialogue should bring out what the Zambians expect,” Kalembwe stated.
“He said that it should not be an opportunity to disrespect the Head of State because the opposition will have a chance to meet and speak with him on the topic Dialogue for Reconciliation and Unity.”
He stated that Dr Banda commended the initiative by the three Church Mother Bodies but also encouraged the dialogue to bring out what the Zambians expect.
Kalembwe stated that Dr Banda’s warning was based on passed attempts at national dialogue.
“Dr Banda said this against a background of what happened in 1996-97 when a meeting of all opposition political parties was called at Mulungushi International Conference Centre to look at where national problems were lying in order to resolve issues and move in harmony. He disclosed that some political leaders and presidents of political parties thought it was a time to challenge, intimidate and disrespect the sitting President, then late Republican President Mr. Frederick Chiluba and it had to take the National Secretary of the MMD, Brigadier General Miyanda to take his party president out of the meeting,” he stated.
Kalembwe insisted that opposition political parties should only use the dialogue process to solve current national issues and avoid seeing it as a show down with the President.
“He said those in opposition should not go to the Indaba for a showdown and that the event is meant to resolve problems for the betterment of the country and the good of the people of Zambian. He advised that respect is part and parcel of the Zambian culture; tradition and President Edgar Lungu should be respected. Dr Banda said should respect seem to be missing in the meeting; his party will remove the President from the meeting,” stated Kalembwe.