UPND attempts to downplay the importance of the recognition of President Edgar Lungu as legitimately elected is not only a misplaced priority but equally extremely irresponsible.
The UPND does not need to be reminded that Zambia’s political malaise in the aftermath of the August 2016 elections is squarely attributed to its refusal to concede defeat.
It is rather shocking and irksome that one year after the general elections, the UPND should regard the issue of non-recognition of President Lungu as duly elected a petty undertaking, not vital and that recognizing him would not make any difference.
Sentiments trivializing the importance of recognition of a duly elected president violates the very foundation on which democracy is anchored as well as undermine the power of the ballot.
It is wrong for UPND to allege that recognition of a duly elected president is not an issue because this is where peace and unity stems from.
Is the UPND concerned about Zambia’s peace, unity and stability?We do not think so.
We say so, because sentiments coming from high ranking party officials do not only insult the intelligence of Zambians but rather undermine reconciliation efforts initiated by the Church and international signatories and statesmen such as former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo between the ruling party and UPND.
It is common knowledge that a catalogue of incidences that have led to the current political polarization can directly be correlated to the UPND’s failure to accept the outcome of the 2016 general elections.
For instance, the politically orchestrated violence perpetrated by suspected UPND cadres against perceived sympathizers of the ruling party immediately after the ECZ official announcement of the election results in Namwala, Southern Province still lingers in the minds of Zambians.
Citizens who do not hail from that part of the country had their houses torched on the pretext that they supported the ruling PF. Consequently, they were displaced and made to live as refugees in their own country.
The skewed political stance adopted by the party in this regard has overtly manifested in several other uncivil actions.
UPND members of Parliament incessant antagonistic conduct each time President Edgar Lungu addressed Parliament has been a clear demonstration of the party’s position not to recognise him as duly elected President.
For example, on 30th September, 2016, the UPND MPs walked out of Parliament during the official opening of the first session of the 12th National Assembly.
Later on, early this year, majority UPND MPs boycotted President Lungu’s state of the nation address to Parliament which occasioned the suspension of 46 of them for a period of 30 days preceding its adjournment.
Certainly, this display of impudence had the full backing of the top party leadership as incarcerated UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema once stated that nothing would coerce him to recognise President Lungu as legitimately elected for as long as his election petition is not heard before our courts of law.
The recent heightened dictatorship campaign mounted against Government to discredit Zambia by some opposition political players, clergymen supported by opposition political party leaders from South Africa is a strategy mooted to show that the UPND does not recognise President Lungu’s legitimacy.
Are these incidences not what amount to trivialities?