…AS HE WRITES WESTERN DIPLOMATS TO CHART NEXT STEPS AFTER DEFEAT
HAKAINDE Hichilema has invited Western Diplomats to a secret meeting at which he intends to unveil “the next steps” following his defeat and dismissal of his petition.
But Government sources have described the meeting as illegal.
The covert meeting is scheduled to take place today at Chainama Hotel at 10:00 hours and all Western Diplomats have been invited to the meeting at which the UPND leader will discuss what he termed ‘events surrounding the August general elections’ which saw the re-election of President Lungu.
The meeting, according to Government, was unacceptable considering that the issues were canvassed in courts of law and any extra judicial action would lead to consequences, “We don’t expect diplomats to be party to such manoeuvres,” a government official said.
In a letter dated September 9, 2016, Mr Hichilema said the meeting with the Western diplomats would provide an opportunity for the UPND and its alliance partners to brief the international community on issues which, according to him, were threatening the peace and stability of the country.
Mr Hichilema said he was inviting Western diplomats and their political specialists attached to their foreign missions in Zambia as he was considering steps of resolving the current situation.
In his letter captioned: ‘Invitation to meeting to address issues of concern’, Mr Hichilema said he was going to discuss with the Western diplomats constitutional issues he claimed were threatening the country.
“I am writing to invite you to a meeting to take place on Monday, 12th September at 10:00 hours in the boardroom of the Chainama Hotel. The meeting will provide an opportunity for the UPND and our alliance partners to brief the international community on events surrounding the recent election, the subsequent petition and the constitutional issues that are threatening the country. We will also discuss the possibility of the next steps available to us in resolving the current situation,” Mr Hichilema said.
But three of the Western diplomats have snubbed Mr Hichilema’s meeting and have declared that they would not be attending the meeting today.
One of the Western diplomats told the Daily Nation that they had been supporting Mr Hichilema through the election process as well as during the court process and could not continue following the dismissal of his petition by the Constitutional Court.
The diplomats said in separate interviews that they were of the belief that with the Constitutional Court having made its ruling over the petition, there was need for the country to move on and that President Lungu whose inauguration is scheduled for tomorrow should be supported.
“We have been invited as diplomats by Mr Hichilema for a meeting at Chainama Hotel tomorrow (today) but I will not be attending the meeting. We supported Mr Hichilema through the election process and during the petition in the Constitutional Court. But the courts have since made a decision and we think that the country should move on and we want Zambians to support a leader who has been elected,” one of the diplomats who received the letter said.