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PRESIDENT Lungu congratulates Lusaka City Council staffer Arnold Sondashi, who received the Most Courageous Employee award during Labour Day celebrations in Lusaka yesterday. Sondashi, without protective clothes, rescued a child from a burning house. PICTURE: EDDIE MWANALEZA

What dialogue? President Lungu asks

PRESIDENT Lungu says dialogue with some opposition political party leaders will only be possible if those living in denial accept results of last year’s general elections.

The President also says stakeholders calling on him to dialogue should first consider engaging political party leaders who have refused to recognise his presidency, to accept election results.
He is concerned that certain stakeholders are only urging him to dialogue with some politicians following the recent cases of arson by suspected political party members without engaging the aggrieved political party leaders.
“I have been engaging all political parties except one which does not want to recognise me. I find it unfair that some stakeholders are telling me to dialogue without talking to the other person,” Mr Lungu said.
He was responding to Zambia Congress of Trade Unions president Chishimba Nkole, who called on politicians to dialogue following what he termed heightened political tension in the country.
This was during International Labour Day celebrations at the Freedom Statue in Lusaka yesterday.
President Lungu said parties from both ends are supposed to be engaged if dialogue is to be successful because he has not refused to dialogue with anyone.
Mr Lungu said he is ready to dialogue with any opposition political party on condition that they accept the outcome of last year’s general elections and wait for the 2021 elections.
President Lungu said he will not dialogue with people who do not recognise him as head of State and have refused to respect the decision of the people through the ballot.
“Social dialogue is critical in building the economy and my wish is that there be dialogue in the political arena,” he said.
The United Party for National Development has refused to recognise the election of President Lungu in the August 11, 2016 elections that were held under an improved constitution.
President Lungu garnered 50.4 percent of the vote cast while UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema had 47.6 percent.  
And President Lungu expressed sadness over the burning of the Kafue District Education Board Secretary’s office by unknown people.
Earlier, Mr Nkole called on politicians not to shun public events as it does not set a good precedence.
He gave an example of former presidents Rupiah Banda and Kenneth Kaunda, who have been attending public events and have not lost anything but have gained themselves more respect.
Mr Nkole also called on Government to consider reinstating the portrait of Dr Kaunda on the local currency as a way of honouring him.
“We feel that this will be one way of honouring our first President,” he said.