THE Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) has hailed President Hakainde Hichilema for reaching out to former president Edgar Lungu and paving a way for him to be fully involved in state funeral proceedings.

On Sunday, President Hichilema said he had talked to Lungu and asked him that they mourn the late fourth republican president Rupiah Banda together, in unity.

And in an interview, CCZ general secretary Fr Emmanuel Chikoya said this was a step in the right direction as this would promote peace.

“It is a step in the right direction. When you want to promote peace I sincerely feel you do not need a quorum. Sometimes you want to say we need all those preconditions but all you need to do is very focused and decisive leadership. Leadership that is able to break the bureaucracy and be able to reach out and talk heart to heart. So it is a notable step in the right direction. Unlike in the past, we were just hearing that suddenly the cadres appeared at a certain place and things all that. How can cadres just appear suddenly? So it is commendable and that is how things should be done. We commend the President for being able to in a sense just humble himself, reach out and talk to the colleague,” said Fr Chikoya.

“We have emphasised on mourning in dignity and not those issues where people were being harassed, chased and beaten because they have come to a funeral which others feel they are more entitled to. This is a national asset that we are dealing with and we must mourn with dignity. Beyond that, we must see to it, not to just talk about unity and peace but to live real peace in the sense of the word. Dialogue has to take place and must take place like yesterday. The key thing is that we are in conversation. I think that is what is critical. I think what triggers some of these things are invalid. So God will sometimes work in mysterious ways even in the most awkward and unusual ways. He will still use them to advance his purpose.”