While there is nothing wrong with political parties meeting and resolving their desire for a smooth peaceful electoral process before, during and after this year’s general elections; it is important that this is done through legitimate and recognized institutions otherwise such ventures will be considered to be partisan and therefore inimical to the very purpose they stood for.
There is everything wrong and questionable when motley organisations and condemn structures, policies and norms that are of greater concern, magnitude and reach.
It is equally disconcerting that established institutions of political dialogue and conflict resolution mechanisms are disregarded ostensibly to champion the cause of partisan political interest.
Using partisan entities such as political parties with vested interest in State apparatus cannot bring out the desired results in coming up with electoral solutions.
It is incredulous that of all people Rainbow Party Secretary General Wynter Kabimba can be expected to articulate a non-partisan agenda when his very ethos is directed towards confrontation rather than dialogue.
Therefore, it is most unlikely that a few political parties can objectively discuss the pros and cons of the Public Order Act, the Electoral Act and those instigating political violence.
There are more than 30 political parties in Zambia, whose members are desirious of genuine inter-party dialogue but failed to attend the meeting of a few political parties who meet to ‘discuss’ the electoral process at Lusaka’s Courtyard Hotel.
This is because there are more questions to be answered than meet the eye, coming a few weeks after President Edgar Lungu assented to the Constitution amendment Bill which was a product of national debate at formulation stage.
In fact, there is no proof that the current Government is against geninue concerns of greater majority being resolved through dialogue.
From the Government’s side, suggestions have been made on the need to reform the Public Order Act and that a committee was already in place gathering submissions from interest groups.
It is not in dispute that Zambians will in the next few months witness an increased level of grinning among politicians for the cameras and journalists in an attempt to hit the headlines with the best political practices in a democracy but this should be done with expected decency.
While some politicians will be asking for forgiveness for their past transgressions, others will present themselves as the social and economic messiahs.
The politicians, especially those vying for public office will turn themselves into experts in whatever field facing challenges and having the desired cure.
Some of the politicians now volunteering solutions for electoral ills have been ion the corridors of power but did practically nothing about some of the notorious laws which they are now criticising.
As we have said, there is nothing wrong with holding meetings to shape the destiny of our country, but this cannot be done to the exclusion of other political parties and stakeholders in recognised institutions.
It is important that political players and other stakeholders work within established institutions to map out a road map which would guarantee peace before, during and after the August 11 general elections.
Let the Oasis Forum, let the Inter-Party Dialogue body, let the conflict resolution mechanism and indeed let the Church as a disinterested party play the reconciliatory role.