UPND shocks ZCID for re­ject­ing Catholic’s ges­ture

Daily Nation Newspaper - - HOME NEWS - By BEN­NIE MUNDANDO

IT IS shock­ing, re­gret­table, and un­heard of for the UPND to use such un­palat­able lan­guage to­wards St Ig­natius parish priest Charles Chilinda for merely invit­ing Pres­i­dent Edgar Lungu and its leader Hakainde Hichilema to a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion ta­ble, the ZCID has said. ZCID spokesper­son Jack­son Silavwe said the cen­tre was shocked to learn that the UPND had at­tacked Fa­ther Chilinda for merely try­ing to fa­cil­i­tate a truce be­tween the two war­ring po­lit­i­cal par­ties. Mr. Silavwe said the cen­tre ex­pected the in­vi­ta­tion would be easy pick­ing for Mr. Hichilema since the UPND had con­sis­tently main­tained that it would only en­gage in di­a­logue fa­cil­i­tated by the church. His re­fusal must be an eye-opener to the Zam­bia Con­fer­ence of Catholic Bish­ops (ZCCB). He said the ZCID did not have any prob­lem with Fr. Chilinda call­ing for a meet­ing for the two lead­ers be­cause such an ef­fort was still in line with the di­a­logue and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process, in­sist­ing that the ZCID did not have the mo­nop­oly of knowl­edge. “Fr. Chilinda made that call in the spirit of en­sur­ing that we bring the dif­fer­ences in our coun­try to ac­cept­able lev­els. It is ex­tremely re­gret­table and shock­ing that an op­po­si­tion leader who wants to di­a­logue can deny that kind of re­quest. As ZCID, we have al­ways be­lieved that if this di­a­logue is go­ing to stand the test of time, we need to bring all stake­hold­ers to­gether. “We have said that we wel­come any­one will­ing to con­trib­ute to this cause in any way be­cause we know that we are not a mo­nop­oly of wis­dom and we know that di­a­logue is about give and take and there­fore to de­mean what Fr. Chilinda said is re­gret­table. I think Zam­bians are look­ing for­ward to na­tional unity. It is an eye-opener to ZCCB,” Mr. Silavwe said. He said Zam­bians were tired of un­nec­es­sary po­lit­i­cal rhetoric and that those who gen­uinely be­lieved in the di­a­logue and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process needed to be level-headed. “This at­ti­tude of al­ways hav­ing your way is not go­ing to take this coun­try for­ward. Di­a­logue is para­mount and we must do that in the spirit of give and take. UPND is out of line as far as the Fr. Chilinda’s call is con­cerned. Like we said, we want di­a­logue to be all-in­clu­sive “We, as ZCID, have been branded as sur­ro­gates who just go for meet­ings to have tea but I think as po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, we must take the high road so that we nor­malise the sit­u­a­tion that the coun­try is fac­ing,” he said. He said Fr. Chilinda meant well to bring the two lead­ers to­gether and that the UPND’s re­sponse showed that the party was not will­ing to di­a­logue be­cause Fr. Chilinda be­longed to the ZCCB which was one of the three church mother bod­ies which the UPND wanted to lead the di­a­logue process. “We be­lieve that the spirit with which the Fa­ther made that call is the same spirit for the ma­jor­ity of the Zam­bian peo­ple. It is the spirit that goes be­yond par­ti­san­ship. It is a spirit that goes be­yond vested in­ter­ests. UPND must also re­alise that the same Fa­ther be­longs to ZCCB which is part of the three church mother bod­ies and so, it is some­thing that we ex­pected that they would em­brace,” he said.

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