POLITICAL analyst Alex Ng’oma has urged the United Party for National Development (UPND) to recognise President Lungu as the legitimate Republican President before proceeding with dialogue.
Dr Ng’oma said given the fact that the UPND’s action to dispute the Presidential election of August 2016 is an integral part of the problems that have warranted the need for dialogue, it is necessary for the Catholic bishops to ask UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema to share with the nation the basis on which he has disputed the outcome of the Presidential election.
He said in a statement yesterday that both the Patriotic Front (PF) and UPND should ensure pre-conditions required for possible dialogue are realistic to avoid jeopardising the process.
“The nation is aware that the Catholic Church in Zambia was part of a consortium of churches and other stakeholders that endorsed the victory of President Lungu after the 2016 general elections. This fact should not hinder them from urging Mr Hichilema to justify his refusal to accept the 2016 presidential result,” he said.
Dr Ng’oma commended the initiative by the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) to facilitate dialogue between President Lungu and Mr Hichilema.
He said the commendation speaks volumes about the desire of Zambians to see unity of purpose prevail in the political arena.
Dr Ng’oma, however, said the ZCCB, under the leadership of Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu, should not ignore the widespread public perception that the organisation is biased due to its recent sentiments on the country’s political situation.
He said the perception that some Catholic bishops have taken a partisan position in Zambian politics is still strong.
“Thus, failure by the revered bishops to openly come out clean on this matter may undermine the noble work of dialogue that they have embarked on.
“We are now eagerly waiting for the outcome of the meeting between the bishops and Mr Hichilema. We hope these issues will be addressed,” he said.
Dr Ng’oma has urged the Church to continue playing its impartial role as an oasis of peace to enhance dialogue and national reconciliation.
And Dr Ng’oma said the UPND should also provide evidence that 3,000 of its members have been allegedly detained in various correctional facilities and provide reasons for the incarceration.
“The nation deserves to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but that truth,” he said.