The Young African Leaders Initiative has called on Zambians not to fall prey to lies and misconceptions by the opposition Alliance regarding the National Dialogue Forum Bill which goes for second reading in Parliament tomorrow.
YALI President Andrew Ntewewe has reminded Zambians, that had it not been for this group and its lies and misinformation, Zambia would have had an effective and expanded bill of rights which would have guaranteed people’s fundermental liberties and social rights.
Mr. Ntewewe warned Zambians not to buy into the bogus interpretations and misconceptions being peddled by the Church, the UPND-led Opposition Alliance and former members of the now defunct Grand Coalition that they should prefere the church led dialogue.
“In the past week, they have been reading from the script, with the same flimsy excuses! They have all been telling Zambians that they should prefer a church-led dialogue”, he said.
“What is the agenda of the same dialogue? What are the guidelines, composition and the rules governing the same dialogue? Zambians have been told that the church has consulted widely; who have the church consulted and when did they consult? Is the church in its current condition even in a position to handle the reconciliation on the political scene when the church’s own leaders are so very deeply divided? Does this same church-led dialogue have a legal framework? Is it guided by law”, he added.
Mr. Ntewewe said the Church has had over three years to ensure that the dialogue happens, but they have failed to bring political parties together even when the political parties already agreed on the thematic areas.
He said Zambia cannot continue to procrastinate as time is of the essence.
Mr. Ntewewe noted that the 2021 elections are around the corner, the Zambian people do not subscribe to constant bickering and simply talking but they want the governance reforms like yesterday.
He said Zambians do not need a public talk show, they want results through effective reforms.
Mr. Ntewewe said the church-led dialogue has failed because one side wants to dictate to the other and will not allow the other side to bring in another “shibukombe” with whom they feel comfortable.
“Now, what kind of mediation is it where one side chooses the mediator who then dictates the terms of the process? That is what UPND and the church have done. Why, they have refused to disclose the source of funds or the donor of those funds, they have refused to disclose to all the parties to the dialogue who this mysterious donor is, how much money was given and how the money will be managed”, he added.
“YALI is asking: how can the nation engage in an open dialogue under a the church which refuses to disclose such vital information? What are they hiding? What is the interest of that mysterious donor in a Zambian national dialogue and why won’t the church disclose this?In any event, the church-led dialogue is not backed by any legal framework and it therefore fails to meet the basic minimum for a successful results-based National Dialogue! Zambians have been told that the National Dialogue Forum is not supposed to include our MPs”, he said.
He said YALI is concerned adding that the only people who have the legitimacy to speak on behalf of the people are the President, the Vice President and the elected Members of Parliament, to whom we have delegated our power as a people and as a nation, through the Constitution.