By Chris Zumani Zimba
If the three church mother bodies cannot facilitate peaceful, honest, transparent and fruitful dialogue between themselves and the Zambia Center for Inter Party Dialogue ZCID, want guarantee then do we have that they will neutrally chair and successfully facilitate a national political dialogue involving rival and bitter political players? Despite ZCID and some of its affiliate political party members such as the ruling PF, Felix Mutati led MMD and other opposition parties withdrawing their attendance and participation in the National Political Dialogue due to lack of sincere consultations and mutual agreement on the tentative agenda, composition of the delegates, clarity of roles between the Church itself and ZCID, the three church mother bodies today went ahead to launch the National Political Dialogue at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka. In its language and conduct at the event, the church demonstrated high level of political pomp, divisive posture and dangerous latitude to national matters.
Speaking at the launch, Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) Board Chairperson, Bishop Paul Mususu said that the absence of some key political players at the launch of the national dialogue underscores the urgent need for dialogue. But the question is, why go ahead when they as church mother bodies failed to invite key stakeholders on time as well as in conjunction with ZCID? And how and why did the church mother bodies decide to work in total secrecy and dark isolation to hijack the secretarial role of the conveners i.e. ZCID to invite dialogue delegates? This is where the church misled and confused the entire National Political Dialogue process because they seem to have invisible and double dealing interest in the matter by taking over to be hosts, secretariat, chair and moderator of the national indaba.
Bishop Paul Mususu, said the three church mother bodies have vowed to see to it that the National Dialogue process is concluded in the soonest possible time even when other concerned parties shun away from the process. This is equally an offside and wrong statement from the church. The mandate of the three church mother bodies is religious and spiritual in nature with regards to coordinating their respective church institutions. In this National Political Dialogue, ZCID is the lead player with legal mandate and political legitimacy to mobilize and coordinate political parties and leaders to engage and dialogue in our country so that, without involving or working with them, any other player undertaking such a political process and undertaking becomes either overtly offside or absolutely questionable.
In like manner, this approach and tone from Men of God as advanced by Bishop Mususu is politically wrong, pompous, divisive and dangerous because any successful political dialogue in Zambia today of national nature cannot exclude the ruling PF and the sitting Head of State and Government. Moreover, PF with President Lungu and UPND with its leader HH are the main stakeholders who were supposed to be prioritized in bringing to the national political dialogue table while other political leaders becomes merely additional stakeholders. And why call it national dialogue when none of the members present today have national representation or membership? Without PF, this political dialogue is not national. This is where the church are offside and stand to politically set Zambia on fire if they continue with this pompous posture, biased language and acrimonious leadership to national governance matters. S
Bishop Mususu said that dialogue remains the civilised way of dealing with challenges affecting any given nation in this modern society. And Bishop Mususu, said the National Dialogue process provides a platform where citizens can hold their national leaders accountable in national affairs. He therefore stated that staying away from the process is running away from addressing challenges affecting the people of Zambia. Yes, Bishop Mususu is correct except that the three church mother bodies have mishandled and spoiled the entire process so far and left huge political questions, doubts, mistrusts and misbeliefs from many faithful stakeholders and concerned citizens. At this latest pace the church is moving, Zambians must start praying for their pastors, prophets and priests because they stand politically dangerous and are running too fearsome going into 2021.
The dialogue process has been attended by some members of the political alliance notably the UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema, Elias Chipimo (NAREP), Andyford Banda (PAC), Nevers Mumba (MMD) and Fresher Siwale among others and the Civil Society movement, traditional leaders who included Chieftainess Nkomesha and some diplomats accredited to Zambia. The Law Association of Zambia led by its president Eddie Mwitwa, and Transparency International Zambia Chapter Executive Director Wesley Chibamba were also present. The ruling Patriotic Front Leadership and other opposition Party parties namely the Felix Mutai Faction are missing from the official Launch of the National Dialogue process that has attracted a sizeable crowd.
Chris Zumani Zimba is a prolific Political Scientist, Analyst, Author, Blogger, PhD Scholar, Researcher and Consultant. Besides being the CEO and Managing Consultant at Chrizzima Democracy University (CDU) in Zambia, he analyses African politics weekly on Voice of the Cape Radio, South Africa every Wednesday at 16:45hours CAT. So far, he has authored more than 10 political and academic books as well as published over 100 well researched articles.