Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba says Saturdays meeting between UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and 15 diplomats accredited to Zambia is a normal practice in international diplomacy.
Mr Kalaba said the visit by the diplomats to Mr Hichilema’s residence is a clear indication of the strengthen and maturity of Zambia’s democracy.
He emphasised that the engagement of the diplomatic corps by all stakeholders such as political parties including the opposition is a normal practice in any democratic country like Zambia especially in the run up to the general elections.
“In other countries, such gatherings would not be accommodated by the Government in power, but in Zambia, events of this nature are accommodated as long as they are conducted within the confines of the law,” Mr Kalaba said.
He added, “While Zambia endeavour to improve her democratic principles in the fulfilment of her own people’s aspirations, we stand proud of how, over a relatively short period of our multiparty system of governance, we have continued to make significant strides in our efforts to enhance our democracy through subsequent popular and representative governments.”
Mr Kalaba said President Edgar Lungu remains committed to democracy, good governance and the rule of law.
He said the PF Government will ensure that these elections are conducted in a manner that is free, fair and credible and conducted on a level playing field.
“Zambia is renowned for her democratic credentials and the PF Government remains fully committed to main these standards,” Mr Kalaba said.
He added, “I would also like to take advantage of this opportunity to inform the nation that, in keeping with the strong Zambian tradition of transparency and openness, as well as our commitment to uphold the constitution, the PF Government, through my Ministry has already started sending out invitations to regional and international organisations, as well as cooperating partner countries to participate as election observers in the forthcoming presidential and general elections.”
On Saturday, Mr Hichilema met 15 diplomats accredited to Zambia at his residence in New Kasama for a luncheon where a number of issues where discussed.