The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Zambia, Ibrahim Gambari, concluded his four day visit to the country with a news conference calling for continued mutual respect to help build confidence and trust.
Professor Gambari held extensive consultations with a broad range of stakeholders. They included President Edgar Lungu, the leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND), Hakainde Hichilema, the minister of justice, the chief justice, the House of Chiefs, the church mother bodies, the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue and other civil society organisations.
Shortly before leaving Zambia, Professor Gambari said: “The road ahead will be full of challenges but I would like to encourage political leaders and other stakeholders, including the media, to remain focused, committed and supportive of an environment conducive to a constructive, results-driven dialogue process. I am very pleased that President Lungu and Mr Hichilema, as well as a cross section of stakeholders, remain fully committed to this dialogue process.
“I would like to emphasise that this process is a Zambian process and its success would be defined by the Zambian people. The process must be led and owned by Zambians. The Commonwealth’s role is that of facilitation. It is therefore imperative to continue to maintain an environment of mutual respect to help build confidence and trust.”
The Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, appointed Professor Gambari as her Special Envoy last month after she negotiated a commitment from President Lungu and Mr Hichilema, to engage in forward-looking political dialogue to address issues of common interest ahead of the next election in the country.