2 February 2013

Zambia: Dialogue Key Factor

THE Patriotic Front (PF) has for a long time stood firm on good governance and the rule of law, the very tenets the party in Government has pledged to follow to the letter.

For 10 years while in opposition, the PF spoke against unfair practices in national affairs and also offered alternative policies which are now in motion.

Soon after assuming power in 2011, President Michael Sata appointed eminent citizens and some of the finest legal brains in the country to sit on the Constitution Technical Committee to draft the Zambian Constitution from previous submissions.

This committee has covered a tremendous volume of work and may be concluding the process this year after handing over the Draft Constitution and the report to the Executive and to the public simultaneously.

Invariably, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land upon which any government anchors its inherent authority and power to govern the citizens.

The PF thus made it clear even before assuming office that it would review the supreme law of the land through an all-inclusive process and ensure that the fundamental principles are placed in proper perspective. This is now being done.

Secondly, the Government embarked on restructuring law enforcement institutions, including the Anti -Corruption Commission (ACC).

The PF administration made a landmark decision to reinstate the abuse of office clause in the ACC Act which the MMD administration expunged from the statutes for frivolous reasons.

The Government restructured the Zambia Police Service by upgrading divisional commanders to the level of commissioners and introduced the position of Deputy Inspector General of Police.

Reforms in the Judiciary are underway while the media has been left to operate without political interference and high-handedness.

As the President said yesterday, his administration remains open to dialogue to iron out any contentious issues affecting the nation.

The response by the President to the Pastoral letter released recently by the Catholic Church Bishops has, therefore, been in line with his Government's commitment to upholding good governance and the rule of law.

It is pleasing that the President has re-stated that his administration will always value the Church's contribution to national affairs.

We applaud the Catholic Bishops for being magnanimous in seeking Government's indulgence in governance issues.

The Catholic Church commands the largest following among the Christian faithful and is also a champion of social justice and development.

It also complements Government's efforts in the social sector where it offers quality education and health services.

The Catholic Church has set up institutions in some of the most outlying areas not only in Zambia, but in other parts of the world.

This is the more reason why the President is intent on accommodating the voice of the Church which has remained very strong for a long, long time.

President Sata has humbly stated that he has taken note of the pertinent issues raised by the Catholic Church in the Pastoral statement on the occasion of the January 2013 plenary.

This is a mark of resilience and selfless leadership and we hope that further steps will be taken to bridge the narrow difference.

Both the President and the Catholic Church have demonstrated willingness to dialogue over national issues. They must meet!

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