VETERAN politician Vernon Mwaanga says President Lungu deserves respect for putting the interests of the country first by embracing dialogue with United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema.
And the UPND says the release of their party president from prison after nolle prosequi will enhance political dialogue needed for national harmony.
Mr Mwaanga said in a statement yesterday that there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics and it is time for all politicians and their supporters to put behind their difference for the sake of peace and development.
He also commended Commonwealth secretary general Patricia Scotland for brokering dialogue between President Lungu and Mr Hichilema during her recent visit to Zambia.
Mr Hichilema was on Wednesday released from Kabwe’s Mukobeko Maximum Correctional Facility after the State entered a nolle prosequi in a case in which he was charged with treason.
“Politics has been described as the art of the possible, where nothing is impossible. There are no permanent friends or permanent enemies in politics, only permanent interests. Politics is a mere contest for power and contenders should not treat each other as enemies, but mere opponents in the contest,” Mr Mwaanga said.
He said the role played by former Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo and Catholic bishops, led by Archbishop Telesphor Mpundu, deserves high commendation as they laid down the foundation for the impending political dialogue.
He said there is need to start a meaningful dialogue so that the momentum gained through the efforts of church leaders, Commonwealth and Mr Obasanjo, who met Mr Hichilema while in prison, and President Lungu to promote dialogue between the two leaders, is not lost.