…without conditions attached
By SILUMESI MALUMO in Katuba and BENNIE MUNDANDO
President Edgar Lungu says he is ready to dialogue with United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema provided he does not attach any conditions to the meeting.
But when contacted for a comment, UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said his party has always advocated for meaningful dialogue to be devoid of set conditions but that if what President Lungu was proposing was the national dialogue, it must be facilitated by the church.
Speaking to Journalists in Katuba yesterday, Mr Lungu said he was open to meet Mr Hichilema but without conditions.
“I can only dialogue with someone who comes with good intentions. I don’t want to meet someone with conditions. I want to meet people with good intentions so that we can discuss nicely.
“How can you dialogue with someone who always wants to come with conditions. You can’t dialogue like that,” President Lungu said.
The President dispelled reports that he was using the church to campaign for the 2021 general elections, saying he was free to congregate in any church.
And President Lungu has urged people of Katuba not to be cheated by the opposition that they will bring development because he was the one responsible for government resources to be used in delivering development in the country.
Speaking when he drummed up support for PF candidate Zax Mwachilele yesterday, Mr Lungu said it was only the PF and himself who could deliver development in Katuba.
He said people of Katuba had once again been given a chance to choose the right candidate to foster development in the area.
“Some people have come to tell you that they will improve this area, they are lying to you. Only the PF government is capable of improving the status in the area.
He said the area had remained under-developed because the people voted for the opposition.
“Hakainde is richer than me but he cannot use his money to develop this area. It’s only me who can turn around the status of this area,” he said.
President Lungu also appealed to youths to desist from engaging in violence during the campaigns ahead of the Parliamentary by-elections slated for July 30, 2019.
But Mr. Kakoma said if what President Lungu was proposing was the national dialogue, it must not only be between him and Mr. Hichilema but all political parties and other stakeholders, with the three church mother bodies as facilitators.
“We have always said that any meaningful meeting must not have any conditions but our position is that if it has to do with the national dialogue, it should not just be a Hichilema/Lungu affair. What we have been proposing is that there must be a national dialogue process that should be led by the three church mother bodies,” Mr. Kakoma said.