Operation Young Vote has said the Zambia Center for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID) in its current standing has no capacity whatsoever to lead or facilitate the National dialogue of the magnitude Zambia requires at the moment. OPV director Guess Nyirenda said under the current regime, Zambia and Zambians have become very polarized.He said it is regretable that the efforts by the Commonwealth through Madam Patricia Scottland and Professor Gambari to bring about genuine dialogue in Zambia,were hijacked by very ill intended maneuvers.He said the ruling party’s rejection and mobilization of its sympathizers through government machinery to reject the Commonwealth from Facilitating the National Dialogue was not only ill conceived but also extremely faulty and mainly meant to safe guard personal and partisan interests and wrong doing.Mr. Nyirenda said the ZCID’s silence on a number of atrocities by the PF,the failed National Democracy Stakeholders Summit organised by the ZCID among others are evidence of the ineptness of the ZCID.
Below is the Full Press Statement
OYV shall forever regard dialogue as one of the surest ways of diffusing tension and also finding commonly acceptable ground between and among conflicting parties. It is also unarguable that the level of polarization and tension in Zambia calls for focused and genuine dialogue between and among stakeholders on a number of unresolved matters, processes, policies and practices including legal frameworks.
Genuineness in dialogue takes into account many factors which include the structure of the dialogue (who leads/facilitates), the agenda, where and when the dialogue takes place. How the players and stakeholders are invited to the meetings and so on and so forth.
Operation Young Vote (OYV) would like to, without any reservation and apology to anyone, pay tribute to the Commonwealth (through Madam Patricia Scottland and Professor Gambari) for its effort to initiate concepts to bring about genuine dialogue in Zambia.
Unfortunately this very well intended effort has be hijacked by very ill intended maneuvers meant to dupe unsuspecting members of the public and the world at large that there is interest among the ruling elite to dialogue with stakeholders and others with divergent views when in fact not.
OYV said it before in a statement issues on 14th April, 2018 and will say it again that the ruling party’s rejection and mobilization of its sympathizers through government machinery to reject the Commonwealth from Facilitating the National Dialogue was not only ill conceived but also extremely faulty and mainly meant to safe guard personal and partisan interests and wrong doing.
Zambia has an opportunity to resolves it’s current tension scenario for many years to come through the Commonwealth or any other local body which is impartial and seen to be impartial and commands the confidence of the stakeholders and citizens and otherwise will be a smoke screen. We say so because it is very clear to everyone that under the current regime, Zambia and Zambians have been polarized to the bone.
Without any malice, we have said before and will say it again. The Zambia Center for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID) in its current standing has no capacity whatsoever to lead or facilitate the dialogue of the magnitude Zambia requires at the moment.
Below are some of the reasons OYV is convinced that ZCID is incapacitated to handle/lead/facilitate/anchor or whatever term you prefer to use, the much desired and deserved dialogue.
- Its silence on a number of atrocities the party in power (the PF) and government are committing and has continued to commit against the opposition and all those with divergent views. It is very clear to all that there are unprecedented levels of inertia within ZCID to act on one of its mandate of ensuring that political parties co-exist in diversity while there is clear fear of the PF – as party in government – government who is their major funder;
2. It must be doubtless in the minds of the Doubting Thomases that ZCID is inept as evidenced by a number of factors among them the failed so called “National Democracy Stakeholders Summit – (NDSS)”. We are of the conviction that this was a failed project due to the following reasons:
- Who was invited to the NDSS and how the invitations were done – A summit of such a name and magnitude requires serious planning on how the programme would flow. Who to invite/Delegates matter a lot on how a forum is perceived and how the product/outcome is taken seriously by society. Most of the delegates to the NDSS did not have the caliber (with due respect to the Zambian intelligential) for the forum – it looked like the motivation was to have enough numbers regardless of the caliber, knowhow, experience and relevant one was to the process and discussions. We noted (unless otherwise) that some stakeholders who would have added value to the process and the deliberations who included LAZ, Traditional Leaders, the Church Mother Bodies other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) were absent. We tried to ask questions and the best response we got was that we had an agenda to discredit the ZCID, and that the United Party for National Development (UPND) was invited but shunned the meeting even when the question did not mention the UPND. We challenge ZCID to tell the national which stakeholders were invited to the NDSS and what mode of invitation was used. Just on this point alone one would clearly see that this was hastily done with intention to dupe the public due to it’s ill conception which any person can figure out;
- When OYV through Mr. Guess Nyirenda questioned on the absence of many other stakeholder who would add value to a national undertaking of the magnitude of Dialogue and that the characteristics of the people present was not reflective of a national nature – the only and best response the audience got was that Mr. Guess Nyirenda was among those that had ill agendas to disrupt the work of ZCID – This response was and is still sad and shameful to say the least.Among most “Delegates” present that did not speak was due to the fact that they did not comprehend with the issues/subject matter while on the other hand some of, if not most of those that spoke and stole the precious time of the nation were parallel to the issues. We say this without malice whatsoever but with all due respect – How can precious time (more than 45 minutes in total) be allocated to “president” Mulyokela (a person some “delegates” claimed his party is not registered under any law in Zambia) just to tell the meeting that he had more members than all political parties and that the absence of the UPND had no bearing – and he was accorded many chances and it was like he was ready to make noise and continue talking if he was not given the floor – Anyone who would say Mr. Mulyokela was the “main speaker” at the NDSS would not be wrong. The other man was drunk and claimed all sorts of things (i.e. that he was neighbours with President Lungu at some point, he was related to Mr. Hakainde Hichilema etc.) – That is “National Dialogue” for you. Thank God two young persons from the UPPZ (if our memories serve us right) stood up to challenge the “Nonsense” and the kind of stakeholders that were stealing the show – except they were ruled out of order for using strong language. They questioned Mr. Mulyokela’s party legitimacy among other things.
- The Moderator who is able and was good was at pains to control the “Delegates” that seemed not to comprehend let alone understand why they were where they were at that time as their talk was parallel with the agenda.
- The Presentation on the Constitution by Mr. Isaac Mwanza from YALI: Without taking away anything from the presentation Isaac Mwanza made – it was a good one. OYV actually congratulated Mr. Mwanza. However the presentation was said to be a representation of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Zambia – a position that was not only false and misleading but also meant to hoodwink delegates and nationals that since CSOs had made a presentation to the forum, then it was “authentic” a meeting. We challenged this within the meeting – and thank God Mr. Isaac Mwanza was magnanimous enough to correct the position to indicate that the presentation was his personal reflection – not even YALI his organization had input. But now what was on the programme/agenda and what would probably reflect in the report would be the wrong and challenged position. The question is: What was the intention of leaving this to the end until OYV challenged it – anyone can figure out the motivation;
3. The mini or near altercation between the ZCID Chairperson and the Executive Director within the auditorium in the presence of the handful delegates that included the other ZCID members and staff as a result of the objectivity of the Executive Director in handling a matter around the communiqué that was then under discussion and scrutiny left a lot to be desired. The very few people that remained around advised the ZCID Board Chairperson not to argue with the ZCID Executive Director in public but instead go to a secluded place together with other Board Members to put their house in order – a piece of advise to which they obliged to. The whole “Summit” was chaotic and ended disorderly.
- Note that among the issues in the Communiqué were: The recognition of the effort and adoption of the agenda set by the Commonwealth and Professor Gambari – which issue most members of ZCID opposed that it should not appear but were beaten overwhelmingly as the matter was subjected to a vote;
- The other was that ZCID must lead/facilitate the National Dialogue – This matter was not supported in the thematic groups that discussed it. However before it was discussed in plenary the meeting ended due to the altercation mentioned above and that the few “delegates” that had remained behind opted to leave when ZCID went to have house cleaning after altercation.
4. It is very clear that the so called “NDSS” was a Big Flop, not by accident or unforeseen circumstances but because of ineptness of the ZCID and “driving” an agenda that isn’t its own. There is clear lack of autonomy and independence of ZCID from the ruling party.
5. Our recommendation is that if we are to avoid going round circles and hold genuine dialogue, heal the nation, reconcile and move forward and neutral and impartial body – such as the Commonwealth should be allowed to facilitate this undertaking of course assisted by a steering committee composed of local stakeholders who will include ZCID, the Church Mother Bodies, Civil Society Organisations, Traditional Leaders, Professional Bodies among others. It is indeed sad to note that the only crime/sin and disqualification that the Commonwealth – the initiators of this much need dialogue and reconciliation is being foreign – a notion that can be argued – as we have seen that our governments now and before have claimed legitimacy regarding winning elections on the pretext that Foreign/International Observers had said so – food for thought;
6. While we appreciate the calls to have the Church Mother Bodies lead, we still are convinced that we will end up at square one as some of our Church Leaders have shown partiality in the past and parties and stakeholders will reject some of or the entire outcome. Therefore it would be catastrophic for the nation to waste its precious time knowing that processes and reforms to some laws and legislation must be done way before 2021;
7. We must understand that the kind of dialogue we must all envisage is where tough and difficult questions will be asked and those to respond must be as genuine and transparent as possible. There must be admittance of wrong doing and pledging with practicalities to reform and begin on the national building (with love for all) trajectory. It is not where people would come with titles and intimidate and threaten those with divergent views but where mutual respect will take center stage. We all know that it hard to swallow a bitter pill – which unfortunately we have no option but to do so if we desire genuine dialogue, reconciliation, peace and unity as a people. We at OYV are convinced that we can and should allow the Commonwealth to Facilitate our National Dialogue to be stirred by a Steering Committee of Local Credible men and women including Young people and Persons living with disabilities
For and on behalf of OPERATION YOUNG VOTE
Guess Nyirenda (Mr.)