Rainbow Party General Secretary Wynter Kabimba says the church and Zambia Center for Inter-party Dialogue (ZCID) must resolve their issues because it does not make sense for them to be bickering when they are merely facilitators of the dialogue process.

And Kabimba has appealed to President Edgar Lungu and the Patriotic Front to submit to national dialogue process slated for the January 18, if they mean well for the country.

Speaking when he featured on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview, Kabimba advised the Church and ZCID to put themselves in order and get on with the dialogue process.

“The national dialogue is not about the Church and ZCID, that’s very important for the two organisations to realise.They should realise that this is not their national dialogue, this is national dialogue for and by political players and civil society organisations. The two organisations are facilitators, they are a conveyor belt to move everybody towards that appointed date when we can sit down as political players and civil society organisations and look at the issues that are contentious in our country. I don’t understand why there should be this misunderstanding between facilitators who are not even the owners of the process,” Kabimba said.

“But again, I think there is something between the Church and ZCID which they are not telling the public about. There is an under carriage which the two organisations are not telling the public as to why they are failing to work together and drive this process. The Church and ZCID had made progress, ZCID had agreed that the Church was going to chair the national dialogue and that ZCID was going to be charged with the responsibility of administering the Secretariat. But now we hear that the Church wants to chair and also manage the Secretariat to the exclusion of ZCID. That is not the way to go and I think the Church must own up and do the correct thing, they can’t have both organs of this dialogue under their charge, that will create a problem.”

And Kabimba advised President Lungu and his party, as well as politicians in the political alliance not to pull out of the dialogue process.

“I want to appeal to my fellow citizens across these political divides and alliances to actually submit to this process. I want to also appeal to President Lungu and the Patriotic Front that if you mean well in terms of making progress for this country, submit to the national dialogue, so that all of us as Zambians can sit on a round table and agree. We may have contentious issues where we may not agree, those can be adjourned and revisited later. But I think the spirit give and take and build consensus around this issues so that the country can run without this tension that we see today,” said Kabimba.

Meanwhile, Kabimba suggested topic to be discussed during the process.

“Before the date for the national dialogue comes, we need ZCID and the Church to give us the agenda. We don’t want to submit to national dialogue where we are going to be ambushed in terms of the agenda. When we met the Church as Rainbow Party, we made it clear to the Church that items that will be on the agenda must be those items that are of a national character and that if there are any items that relate to inter party between political parties, they must deal with those items way before the national dialogue. We told the Church for example that the issue of political violence is a national item, the issue of printing ballot papers in 2021 locally is an issue of national contention. The issue of the colossal nomination fees that have unilaterally been imposed by the Electoral Commission of Zambia is an issue of national concern. Those fees are excluding leaders that may even be better than some of us who are there today. I don’t think that democracy must be about money, we in the Rainbow Party totally disagree,” said Kabimba.

“Democracy must be about the participation of citizens. Once you introduce elements that exclude certain citizens from participating in the affairs of the State on account of their financial strength or weaknesses, then you are not developing a democracy. Then the amended constitution, the article which says ‘once a Presidential petition has been filed then the incumbent must vacate office, it’s just ridiculous. It’s actually against the national security of this country. What would happen for example that in the event of the election petition and the incumbent President is out office, you don’t have a Commander-In-Chief and this country is attacked , to whom are the defense forces going to orders from? So some of these things are extremely academic and we have learnt lessons from these pitfalls in the constitution and the national dialogue is providing a forum to us to deal with these. So ZCID and the Church must provide the delegates to the national dialogue with that agenda.”