In the spirit of hosting an all-inclusive national dialogue process, the Zambia National Students Union (ZANASU) call on the church to postpone the proposed dialogue from the 18th January 2019 to a later date so as to allow for identification and engagement of all key stakeholders as opposed to having a political party-centred dialogue.
The legitimacy of the current church-led dialogue process is increasingly shredded into confusion and having a limited focus on political parties. We are neither satisfied nor sure that the church and the Zambia Center for Inter Party Dialogue (ZCID) have put their houses in order to facilitate a meaningful dialogue that will reflect a national character and have desirable results.
Firstly, to have a meaningful dialogue ground rules, overall objectives, issues and participants must be clearly defined to ensure expectations of the participants are properly managed but, most importantly, this will ensure participants prepare adequately and will contribute to the deliberations in a reasoned manner. ZANASU does not believe that this important national dialogue process should be reduced to a shadowy-boxing or a platform for settling political scores between the opposition and the ruling party.
We have also noted that there seem to be problems as to who should attend this dialogue process. In particular, the church cannot overlook the participation of students and the youth who have always been major players in Zambia’s democratic process while entertaining every Jim and Jack who form political parties to advance their personal agendas.
Our view is that there is serious cause of confusion and organisers of this dialogue must not be seen to be creating a platform for addressing intra-party disciplinary issues or an appeal platform for discussing disciplinary and issues that have been dealt with by court processes. We have noticed and take cognisant of the fact that the Secretariat for the dialogue which is supposed to have representation from the church, ZCID and the Ministry of Justice has not been put in place.
We are therefore convinced that the successful and meaningful national dialogue will only be a product of an inclusive process that embraces all stakeholders than the limited focus on political parties. We cannot reduce this national dialogue process to a political party dialogue because political parties have their own fora for ironing out their differences.
Zambia National Students Union