The Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) has appealed to President Edgar Lungu to humble himself, put the country first and seriously consider engaging in a genuine face-to-face dialogue with UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema with a view of reconciling.
Speaking when a 14-member team of Catholic Bishops met President Lungu at State House today, ZCCB president Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu who spoke on behalf of the other Bishops called on the president to embark upon a well spelt out and action oriented programme of National Reconciliation through genuine dialogue.
Archbishop Mpundu reminded President Lungu of the historic reconciliation that took place between the two late presidents Levy Mwanawasa and Michael Chilufya Sata in 2008.
He went on to request President Lungu for the State to facilitate their visit to Mr Hichilema so that they can deliver the same message to him of being humble and engaging in genuine reconciliation.
Archbishop Mpundu also called upon the Head of State to put in place concrete measures to reverse the worrying and very dangerous trend of doing politics through violence.
And President Lungu has encouraged the Catholic Bishop to visit Mr Hichilema and deliver their message.
The President welcomed the Bishops’ overtures for dialogue, but insisted that such a dialogue should be premised on the opposition first accepting the outcome of the 2016 elections.
He reassured the Church of his commitment to constitutionalism, democracy and the rule of law.
The President thanked the Church for their appeal to dialogue and reconciliation while urging them to be more vocal on actions from any quarters that threaten national peace and unity.
Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Dr Chileshe Mulenga who attended the meeting said the Ministry will immediately facilitate the Bishops’ request to visit Mr Hichiclema.
Archbishop Mpundu led 13 bishops and Father Cleophas Lungu who attended the hour-long meeting whilst the President was accompanied by Religious Affairs Minister Rev. Godfridah Sumaili, Presidential Affairs Minister Freedom Sikazwe and Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Dr. Chileshe Mulenga.
This is contained in a statement issued to Q-News by special assistant to the president for press and public relations Amos Chanda.