The much vaunted for peace accord between the opposition United Party for National Development and the ruling Patriotic Front has received widespread applause from all well-meaning Zambians. It has been the cry of every genuine political player to see the two rival political parties play politics of civility.
So when the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) brought the two forces together prior to the July 26 Lusaka mayoral elections everyone was euphoric but remained sceptical about the process.
Thankfully the dialogue continued in the post-election period winning over doubters.
To have seen Patriotic Front National Youth Chairperson Stephen Kampyongo and Lands Minister Jean Kapata visit the UPND secretariat and press for sustained dialogue has been heart-warming.
Just when the deal was beginning to hold opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema went to town discrediting the peace deal his own top ranking officials have been propping up.
He has labelled the accord deceitful and lumped the blame on his youths as being naïve for entering into the accord. In one breathe he was preaching dialogue but rubbishing what little effort his colleague are making towards dialogue.
But this is not at all surprising and consistent with everything Hichilema stands for. Remember the reason part of the proposed national dialogue has been his insistence on some almost unattainable conditions. National dialogue can never be about one person. It has to be held in the spirit of give and take. Every other player has had to bend the rules just to accommodate Hichilema. He has single handedly eliminated the Zambia Centre for Inter Party Dialogue (ZCID) from the dialogue process. He went crying for the Church Mother bodies who have also been brought on board. Now the anthem has changed to having international observers being at the centre of the dialogue.
It could appear that any peaceful interaction between the PF and UPND is not welcome to Hichilema. He has a phobia for dialogue and non-violence. It seems these twin values do not exist in his political vocabulary.
Otherwise why would he be condemning his youths for championing nonviolence? Imagine all the effort made even by his party General Secretary Stephen Katuka to meet his opposite in the PF Hichilema still found measure to discredit the deal. The well-publicized crumble of the PF/UPND pact in the runner up to the 2011 elections may not have been an accident. We pray this peace accord succeeds for the sake of decency in our politics.