University of Zambia political historian Professor Bizeck Phiri says the dialogue process should not segregate some stakeholders.

In an interview, Prof Phiri, said barring some stakeholders from being part of the dialogue would make the process fail.

“When you are in the process of undertaking dialogue, it should be open, it should not be restrictive as to who should participate or who should not participate. And for that reason, the number of stakeholders cannot be determined, you can dialogue starting with two people, the number can go up to hundred people participating in the process. You cannot begin to preclude others, the moment you do that it means that the dialogue process is segregative and the moment you segregate, you are most likely to fail to achieve the objective,” Professor Phiri said.

Professor Phiri insisted that the dialogue process should accommodate all stakeholders, including those with opposing views.

“So when you are having a dialogue, let it be open. Every stakeholder has a view. And in the dialogue process, there is the issue of give and take in order to move forward together, without leaving anyone behind, because the moment you leave others behind, you are sowing seeds of discontent and when there is discontent, there will be a problem. So I would advise for an all-inclusive process. You may not agree with other views but bring them on board, listen to them and let them listen to what others are saying and in the process of giving and taking, you will be building the nation because the focus is the wellbeing of the nation,” said Prof Phiri.

“What we should be looking at is that the dialogue process has already begun, there have been meetings that have been taking place, which are part of the dialogue, 18th January is not the beginning and the end, it is the continuation of the process. So all those who will be attending, let them focus on the objective of the dialogue, what is it that we want to achieve? Dialogue is a process, we are now in 2019, let them not think that dialogue will end, it will continue and others will come on board as we go on. So to begin to say this one should not be part of the process, this one what, then you are creating more problems, I don’t think that would be the best approach.”

There have been calls from some political party officials, to prevent NDC consultant Chishimba Kamwili from attending the dialogue meeting, arguing that the Roan MP was not a party president but a consultant.