Zam­bia’s Lungu urged to en­gage the op­po­si­tion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

LUSAKA — The South­ern African Cen­tre for the Con­struc­tive Res­o­lu­tion of Dis­putes (SACCORD) has urged Zam­bian Pres­i­dent Edgar Lungu to be a man and face the op­po­si­tion to help map the way for­ward in ad­dress­ing the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal con­flict, The Post re­ports.

Saccord is a non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion that deals with is­sues per­tain­ing to peace, se­cu­rity and democ­racy in Zam­bia and in the South­ern African re­gion.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Boni­face Cheembe shared his dis­ap­point­ment at the lack of ef­fort by Lungu to ad­dress the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal ten­sion.

“The Pa­tri­otic Front should be in the fore­front pro­mot­ing peace and sta­bil­ity. There­fore, it is dis­ap­point­ing to have lead­ers who are not ready to sit with other stake­hold­ers to re­solve the mis­un­der­stand­ing meant to safe­guard cit­i­zens’ lives,” Cheembe was quoted as say­ing.

Cheembe urged Lungu to put the peo­ple first, say­ing it was dis­turb­ing to note that his PF party had turned down a meet­ing to hold a di­a­logue with the op­po­si­tion.

Re­ports in­di­cated that the rul­ing party had continued to blame the op­po­si­tion for the coun­try’s post-elec­tion vi­o­lence, while re­fus­ing to meet with the op­po­si­tion United Party for Na­tional Devel­op­ment (UPND) leader, Hakainde Hichilema.

Ac­cord­ing to Voice of Amer­ica, Lungu re­fused to meet with his main ri­val last week.

Hichilema had called for a meet­ing be­tween the two to re­solve “perti­nent” na­tional is­sues, in­clud­ing the on­go­ing vi­o­lence in the coun­try fol­low­ing the Au­gust 11 gen­eral elec­tion and ref­er­en­dum.

The op­po­si­tion leader also called on church groups and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to or­gan­ise a meet­ing be­tween the two men to help re­solve the cri­sis.

“Pres­i­dent Lungu was very cat­e­gor­i­cal. He says ‘let that man (Hichilema) aban­don his vi­o­lent ways. Let him choose to walk the path of peace, then I am go­ing to meet him’,” PF’s deputy cam­paign man­ager Frank Bwalya was quoted as say­ing.

Hichilema re­cently in­creased pres­sure on Lungu to step down, claim­ing that he was us­ing state ma­chin­ery to ef­fect a coup d’état in the coun­try. The op­po­si­tion leader stated the claims in the wake of a pe­ti­tion filed by his party, cit­ing that there were sev­eral ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, the im­pend­ing in­au­gu­ra­tion of Lungu had been halted pend­ing a con­sti­tu­tional court rul­ing on the poll re­sults. — AFP

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