Republican President Edgar Lungu has called on the Minister of Justice Given Lubinda to halt the constitutional reforms until the much anticipated dialogue process is completed.
And President Lungu says there are no preconditions for his party’s participation in the dialogue discussions.
Meanwhile President Lungu says his party has total confidence in the Zambia Centre for Inter party Dialogue -ZCID saying areas of concern in the capacity of the centre should be put on the table so that all stakeholders involved can participate in resolving them.
Speaking when he met the board of ZCID President Lungu said his government was not in a hurry to make amendments to the constitution which would bring conflict in the end.
He said some of the issues and concerns that have been raised in the aftermath of the 2016 election will be discussed during the dialogue processes and that proceeding with constitutional reforms before the dialogue process is completed would be undermining the entire dialogue process.
He promised board members that he would formally write to the Minister of Justice to ask him to scale down on constitutional reforms so as to allow the dialogue process to end.
The President added that it was important not to leave anyone in the reforms as that brings conflict and not produce the desired results.
The President who met the Board at his party’s secretariat with his Secretary General Davies Mwila and party Chairperson Samuel Mukupa also said his party representatives would present the challenges that the party has identified in the constitution, the Public Order Act and Electoral Act which needs to be addressed.
“I think that as a political party we have identified certain challenges in the Constitution, in the Electoral Process Act and the Public Order Act and we want to bring them to the table so as you meet to agree on the issues to discuss…I think our representatives on the board will speak adequately to these issues so that at the end of the day we are speaking for the same context on these issues,” he said.
And the President said his party will not put in any conditions as regards their participation to the dialogue process.
“…and we are coming to this discussion unconditionally. Let me make that very clear; we are coming to this discussion unconditionally and people should not be made to believe that we are coming to this issue because we want recognition as government, we are government and whether you strip us of that recognition that you don’t recognise us as government…you know deep down your heart that we are government so let those who don’t recognise us but still want to participate come and participate in this process because we want to encompass everyone’s views,” he said.
Meanwhile President Lungu said his party has confidence in ZCID and has called on people to rally behind their own institutions to resolve the challenges faced in the country.
“Let me put it on record that our confidence in ZCID as a party and as President for PF and member of the party and speaking on behalf of the party is very very strong. I have total confidence in ZCID and I wish to put it on record. For those who have doubt in the capacity of ZCID they should tell us in which areas so that we work together to build this capacity together. What capacity are we talking about which ZCID doesn’t have, we need to identify this along the way and we should work together to make sure that we capacitate ZCID. At the end of the day if we agree that we don’t have capacity to build that capacity within ourselves then we can go out and source for support,” said President Lungu.
President Lungu was the last President from Political Parties in parliament to be met by the ZCID board in their quest to familiarise the political party leaders with the steps being undertaken by the centre in the run up to the dialogue process.
Other Presidents met are UPND president Hakainde Hichilema, FDD president Edith Nawakwi and MMD president Felix Mutati.
On Monday the board paid a courtesy call on first Republican President Kenneth Kaunda to draw lessons from past experiences in managing dialogue processes.
And speaking earlier ZCID Board chairperson Nathan Mulonga said the centre was ready to work with all stakeholders in the country.
He said a number of stakeholders have been engaged in the process and that they have shown willingness to participate in the process to ensure that the country moves on from the the aftermath of the 2016 elections.
Mulonga was accompanied by all the board representatives of the party except the UPND who have shunned the meetings since the board started meeting Presidents of political parties.