MIKE MUGALA and KELVIN MBEWE, Lusaka
SOME opposition political parties and civil society organisations have commended the Church for facilitating efforts of reconciliation and dialogue
between government and incarcerated United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema.
And the Patriotic Front Party leadership has commended President Lungu for allowing church leaders to meet Mr Hichilema to dialogue and enhance national unity.
Speaking in separate interviews the opposition political parties and the civil society said the effort being made to foster dialogue are a step in the right direction.
New Congress Party president Peter Chanda said his party commends the role the church has continued to play over the past years in promoting national peace and unity.
“The Church has always given the country direction and guidance in times of difficulty. As New Congress Party, we pray that the outcome of the meeting of the bishops with the UPND leader will be successful,” he said.
Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) national secretary Raphael Nakachinda said every effort to seek peace and unity for the country must be encouraged.
“As long as there is no abrogation of the laws of the land, the move is very much welcome. Besides, it is the duty of the Church to mediate over such issues,” he said.
United National Independence Party (UNIP) president Tilyenji Kaunda said the need for dialogue and national reconciliation could not have come at a better time than now.
He said Zambia has a good track record of peace and unity in the Southern African region.
“As a party, we would like to commend the Church for the step it has taken in facilitating dialogue and peace-building,” Mr Kaunda said.
Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) executive director Chimfwembe Mweenge has commended President Lungu for meeting with the Catholic bishops at State House.
Mr Mweenge said President Lungu has shown true statesmanship and the value of democracy.
“We commend the President for taking the bold step. We also expect the UPND to support the idea so that the country can be united and focus on development,” he said.
UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma declined to comment on the matter.
And PF secretary general Davies Mwila says President Lungu has always been willing to meet various stakeholders to discuss matters affecting the nation, COLLINS PHIRI reports in Ndola.
He said the head of State values the peace and democracy Zambians have enjoyed since independence.
He further appealed to the opposition leaders to receive President Lungu’s willingness to dialogue and national unity as being without attached conditions.
Mr Mwila was speaking in an interview in Ndola on Saturday. He said the country is bigger than individuals.
Mr Mwila is on the Copperbelt for a two-day party mobilisation programme.