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Zambia’s rivals smoke the peace pipe

Story from: CAJ News Africa

Zambia Opposition leader

Zambia Opposition leader

From ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – PROSPECTS of peace have received a major boost in Zambia as President Edgar Lungu and opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema agreed to peaceful dialogue in addressing the country’s political tensions.
Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, brokered the truce.
She has been in the Southern African country as part of a peace and
relationship building tour of the continent.
In Zambia, Scotland held consultations with the two rival leaders, cabinet ministers, election authorities and church leaders.
Scotland said Lungu and the opposition agreed to a process of dialogue and establishing a roadmap of reforms in preparation of the 2021 elections.
They pledged to work towards a peaceful resolution to the political crisis.
“I am delighted that we have been able to come to an agreement to work
together to strengthen peace and democracy in Zambia as we move forward,” Scotland said.
Political tensions emanating from a disputed poll held exactly a year ago are tormenting the country of 17 million people.
Lungu won over 50 percent of the vote to Hichilema’s almost 48 percent but the opposition leader claimed the polls were rigged.
He has been detained since April on suspicion of treason and charged with treason.
Last month, Lungu, who is accused of being dictatorial, angered his
critics by declaring a state of emergency after arsonists burnt down the country’s main market in the capital Lusaka.
Thousands of stalls were razed down in an inferno Lungu blamed on
aggrieved supporters of Hichilema.
– CAJ News

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