Tag: reconciliation

Withdraw ill-conceived NDF Constitution says Dr M’membe

Withdraw ill-conceived NDF Constitution says Dr M’membe

Good morning comrades and friends of our news media!

It’s very clear that the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 is not acceptable to the Zambian people.

There are even very serious divisions over this Bill among those who sponsored it.

Therefore, the only reasonable thing to do is to withdraw it. It must be withdrawn immediately.

And we must start the whole constitution review process afresh.

It was very clear from the beginning that their National Dialogue and Reconciliation Forum was not going to work. It is not surprising that the Constitution (Amendment) Bill that has come out of it is not acceptable to our people.

After putting up the so-called National Dialogue and Reconciliation Forum at such a huge cost, we ask:

(i) what type of dialogue took place there and where are its results?

(ii) who have the sponsors of that project reconciled?

NDF was hurriedly put up to undermine a well thought out and well intentioned national dialogue and reconciliation process initiated and led by the Church.

But like all ill-intentioned schemes, NDF has clearly failed and today it is being repudiated even by its very own sponsors; it has become an orphan.

NDF brought together already reconciled people – supporters, sympathisers and friends of those in government.

But of what value is it to try and reconcile the already reconciled?

But as things have turned out, even the glue holding together the reconciled has proved to be not strong enough. Today they are differing, disagreeing with each other over the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 which came out of their resolutions.

What is this telling us?

It is indicating to us that we need to go back to genuine dialogue and reconciliation with each other.

We need to genuinely dialogue, reconcile and build some consensus on a number of issues, including the Constitution, with those we disagree with or even detest.

Is this easy? No. But it has to be done.

This requires effort, humility and good will, without feeling we have the monopoly of wisdom.

It requires tolerance and honesty.

And above all, it requires love for our fellow citizens – because with love all differences, obstacles can be overcome.

After the general disagreements that the nation has witnessed over the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019, we urge our brothers and sisters in government to retreat in best order and allow genuine dialogue, reconciliation and consensus building on all serious issues that today divide us.

Let them withdraw this highly divisive and ill-conceived Constitution (Amendment) 2019.

Let’s rise above our differences – political, religious and otherwise – and find other acceptable ways to dialogue, reconcile our differences and build consensus on how to deal with the Constitution and other contentious issues.

Trying to dribble others and emerge as the sweep stake winners won’t win us anything. What we should seek is not a single winner but for us all to be collective winners.

This country deserves more. It deserves a Republican Constitution and not a partisan manifesto disguised as a magna carta.

Let’s save the nation from relieving the nightmare of the last few years which they are trying to wake up from.
We know constitutions are products of special circumstances but not this NDF amendment bill.

We can and shall do better by galvanizing our people and allow them to give birth to a product of national consensus.

Issued by Fred M’membe on behalf of the Politburo of the Socialist Party

July 21, 2019

Garden Compound, Lusaka

Statement of the Socialist Party on the National Dialogue and Reconciliation initiative by the Church

Statement of the Socialist Party on the National Dialogue and Reconciliation initiative by the Church

From the very moment the Socialist Party received an invitation to attend the preliminary meeting of the stakeholders to the National Dialogue and Reconciliation process, we did not hesitate for a second to embrace both the need for these talks and the spirit of the letter from the conveners – the Church.
And we issued a press statement in which we categorically stated our belief that national dialogue deserves our attention as a tool with the potential to facilitate peaceful political transformation while recognising that it is not a magic wand in itself.
Clearly, even those who defend the status quo – which for a moment benefits them – do appreciate the need to attend to a number of conflict-fuelling themes of political rights, basic freedoms, institutional reforms, election procedures, above all the need to have a Constitution that befits a multiparty democratic dispensation.
And we believe a national dialogue process, devoid of shadow boxing and other ulterior motives, should provide for substantive conversation around the major grievances of all key interest groups as well as the national good.
The nation for once needs civility, humility and selflessness. Let us all set aside the fears of losing power, mirroring dialogue to regime change, having preconceptions, or setting it as a means to electoral win or loss.
The world over, where need be – dialogue has been used to hear voices and possibilities. Why? It’s because it can encompass tensions and paradoxes – the only way to reach decisions that are acceptable to everybody. And Zambia today needs these means to avoid, or resolve, conflict.
Everyone, whether in denial or for the sake of it, once they hibernate; by themselves – reckon that what separates democracy from other political philosophies is the principle and practice of solving differences first and foremost through dialogue. So why derail or attempt to put bottlenecks to the process that seeks to cleanse our nation of its vices, weaknesses?
We cannot endure the status quo any more than we have already done. We seek to transform the current conflictive political and social environment, relationships and enhance governance.
We are alive to the fact this dialogue cannot hold unless there’s a safe space in which the actors can interact with trust and respect. What the nation desires is a dialogue that consolidates the participation of social, economic, political, cultural, and institutional actors. One that strengthens the values of democracy and fosters actions that are more inclusive and sustainable.
For this to happen, the convenors should be respected by the majority of citizens and should not have any political aspirations or goals that would present an obvious conflict of interest.
And the Church has the long-standing moral authority and broad constituent bases to lead this long overdue process in our country.
None of the Bishops or individual three church mother bodies is seeking political power. It has nothing to gain politically out of this dialogue save the preservation of peace, societal stability, and safeguarding the path to sustainable development.
We cannot wait until the obtaining violent political winds degenerate and envelop the entire fabric of society for all political actors to see sense to put off all these red lights flashing in our faces.
Accept that in a multiparty democratic dispensation change of government through elections is unavoidable – it is the essence of plural, multiparty politics.
Just as there will be generational change of leaders, governments will fall, be voted out. At times a ruling party will have an internal leadership contest which ushers in new leadership.
The abuse of the public order Act, the police, the courts, electoral process and the current Constitution that is full of lacunas – are all but premised on the principle or desire to perpetuate the PF’s hold on power. But it will not work.
Rise from your comfort zone, come to the dialogue table. Let us get away from pettiness. We have a country to lead, a people to serve. The choking poverty is not simple statistics; these are our fellow citizens enduring the direct effects of poor and indifferent leadership.

Issued by Dr Fred M’membe on behalf of the Politburo of Socialist Party ( Zambia),

22:42 hours
Lusaka