People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) president Andyford Banda says it would not be shocking if all the Bishops presiding over national dialogue resigned like Bishop Sydney Sichilima due to lack of sincerity among politicians.

In an interview, Banda said the Bishops were trying hard not dent their names through their involvement in the dialogue process.

“The first thing that came to my mind when I saw that Bishop Sichilima had resigned is I sympathized with him because I think the Bishops tried their level best to help this country but the politicians are not working to achieve their targets. It is true that to preserve the integrity of the church, the Bishop did well to resign and I wouldn’t be surprised that all the Bishops that were ready to work with the political parties in the national dialogue followed suit because what we have realized is that there is lack of sincerity in politicians and the Bishops are really trying hard not to have their names dented by their involvement in the dialogue process. So the first safest thing to do in as much as they have an obligation to help the country go through this dialogue, the safest thing is for them not to get involved and that is why you saw the resignation of Bishop Sichilima,” Banda said.

Banda said it was important for politicians to be sincere and further warned that it would be difficult to find a mediator for the national dialogue if the church pulled out.

He said as long as the politicians were not sincere in their dealings, the church would keep excusing itself from the process.

“So we hope that politicians can be a bit sincere because outside the church, I think it would be difficult to find a mediator to mediate the national dialogue. I think what we see is that everyone is gunning to see how electoral reforms can advantage or disadvantage the opponent and I think that should be the goal of the dialogue process. I think the goal of the dialogue process is to actually ensure that proper laws are implemented [and] that would last a test of time as opposed to laws that will target political competitors in this process. So we need to make sure that people are sincere to enact laws that will fever every political party [such that] if PF today was in the opposition, they shouldn’t cry foul and say ‘no, we want the dialogue process to change this. So we want laws that are going to last a test of time. So as long as politicians are not going to be sincere, we shall see the church excusing themselves from the national dialogue,” he said.

Meanwhile, Banda said the PF had failed the youth.

“The challenge we have with this government is that they have taken us back to many years. So it’s very difficult for us to score them and say ‘this is what they have done.’ When they came in 2011 they came with projects which in essence they were supposed to have empowered the youths but those projects have disappeared and there is no money to run the projects and then we are in debt, meaning that more and more youths are unemployed. So there was no plan by the PF government to ensure that the Eurobond they borrowed would sustain the youths for a long time to come up with plans on how best they can create jobs,” said Banda.

“So they need to come up with empowerment projects that will not target PF cadres or people that are affiliated to the ruling party but they need to come up with empowerment programmes that would target people who are competent, people who can actually work for this country. And youths must actually look for opportunities in their communities. And also I would like to advise the youths to get involved in productive politics because they should not just be used as tools of violence. There is more that they can do in politics.”