FORMER Finance Minister in the MMD government Dr Katele Kalumba has advised government to deal with the violence in the country if they want to create a politically stable environment for investments.
In an interview, Friday, Dr Kalumba said the continued existence of verbal and physical violence called for dialogue amongst political parties in order to define the new rules of engagement after the elections.
“We need some stability and peace in our country mostly in the system of governance as well as our performance as political parties. I think some kind of dialogue is needed here anyway. Let me say this as a trustee of the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue, I think when the President comes back, I think the two political parties and the smaller ones as well must try to sit at the table and define the new rules of engagement after the general elections,” he said.
“There are still some elements of violence both verbal and physical violence that the President must steer the country of through the institutions we have given ourselves like the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue, it is still there. I think if we want to create a politically stable environment for investment, deal with violence.”
And Dr Kalumba said the UPND government should be given a chance to deliver, adding that it was too soon for people to expect miracles from them.
“It is not about miracles where you do things overnight. The new administration has been in power for one month and some weeks, so we don’t expect miracles now. What we expect is the President putting together his administration and streamlining the policies he wants to pursue. Aligning the policies that he has found in place, but they need to be realigned in conformity with values and principles of his party and getting the institutional framework to buy into those policies so that they can start delivering. Because it is the public institution that delivers. The party or the President cannot deliver. He has to get the executive to buy into it, the national assembly or parliament buying into it, the judiciary buying into it and generally the civil service buying into it,” he said.
“Political promises are not supposed to be considered as if they are written because they are always subject to the contingencies of the state, what you find in place, how adaptive it is and what you can do to transform what is possible. So I believe that we must give them a chance, support progressive policies and allow them to do their best to deliver. Oppose where they make mistakes which are avoidable, correct them and that is why they should have an active opposition.”
Dr Kalumba however expressed concern over the many election petitions, hoping that they were not a way of alienating the opposition.
“I think it very important that they should be flexible enough, listening enough and not working to undermine the opposition or alienate an opposition to destroy it. Zambians voted in a very balanced way to have a majoritarian government but have left enough of the opposition in parliament to be able to put checks and balances. So I think this is why I was concerned about these massive petitions that appear to be driven by the desire to alienate the opposition, I think that is not right,” said Dr Kalumba.
“Media must be allowed to express itself including social media. I believe that this government has made its statement known about commitment to freedom of expression and I hope they will hold themselves to the golden standards of universal rights on freedom of expression. You are there as the media, as the fourth estate you are tasked to look at the current administration and say we stay on course given the vision that is shared with the Zambian people.”