VETERAN politician Katele Kalumba has advised opposition political leaders still living in denial after losing last year’s general elections to respect State institutions and democratic principles if they are to be relevant to the country’s political landscape.
Dr Kalumba said in an interview yesterday that respect for State institutions and the country’s electoral system is essential to the success of any politician who aspires to lead the nation.
He said the politics of lawlessness and antagonism being perpetrated by some opposition leaders should not have space in the country’s political arena.
Dr Kalumba called for creative and visionary leadership from the opposition politicians who have vehemently refused to recognise President Lungu as a legitimately-elected head of State to avoid being in conflict with the law.
“I have reflected on what is happening in the political arena, and I am not impressed with the state of affairs. We are operating as if we don’t have institutional platforms to help us come to a common understanding.
“When a winner is declared by the Electoral Commission of Zambia, it is important to accord him respect to execute his mandate. President Lungu should be given respect,” Dr Kalumba said.
He said losing presidential candidates should always respect the will of the people as opposed to undermining State institutions with impunity.
Dr Kalumba said the current impasse between the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and the United Party for National Development (UPND) is retrogressive to the smooth implementation of government programmes and policies.
He urged the UPND leadership to put behind their electoral defeat and give President Lungu space to continue delivering the much needed development.
Dr Kalumba said elections should be won through the ballot and not through courts or other unorthodox methods that could plunge the country into chaos.
He said refusing to recognise a legitimately-elected head of State in President Lungu is a recipe for anarchy that should not be entertained if the country is to sustain the peace it has enjoyed over the years.
Dr Kalumba implored the church to be impartial when dealing with political and national matters.
He said it is wrong for the church to take a partisan stance on matters of national importance.
“I believe we are a mature democracy capable of using the institutions we have given ourselves to help during turbulent times. These are times that require creative and visionary leadership from opposition parties,” Dr Kalumba said.
He said Zambia is blessed to have a sober President in Mr Lungu, who maintains his calm even under provocation.
Dr Kalumba urged the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue to provide the required leadership of engaging political leaders to uphold tenets of democracy and provide a favourable platform for all parties to sit and resolve their issues.