Handshakes are not mandatory says UPND

Filed under: Statements |

picThe opposition UPND says people condemning its leader Hakainde Hichilema for failing to shake hands with President Edgar Lungu at the SDA function at Heroes stadium last Saturday are being unfair.

Party Deputy Spokesperson Edwin Lifwekelo said in a statement that those condemning Mr. Hichilema should realize that greeting the Head of State is not constitutional and mandatory.

Mr. Lifwekelo said both President Lungu and Mr. Hichilema’s protocol officers failed them as they did not advise them correctly.

‘When President Lungu kneels before in front of traditional chiefs, it is not a sign of weakness and it does not make him less important. It’s just a sign of respect, however at Heroes Stadium, President Lungu’s protocol offices failed him because they were supposed to lead him to greet the invited guests although he was also invited,’ Mr Lifwekelo said.

He said FDD leader President Nawakwi and former First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa including many others just used their initiatives to greet the Head of State at the function which should not be the case.

‘Late President Sata used his initiate to greet opposition leaders especially at funeral church gatherings and there was nothing wrong with that. What is disheartening is that President Lungu never even recognized the presence of opposition leaders in his speech compounding the situation and I blame the advisers,’ Mr Lifwekelo said.

He added, ‘President Lungu missed an opportunity to heal and reconcile the nation as Head of State especially that not long ago the PF leadership at the same stadium in full view of President Lungu and his counterpart Robert Mugabe demonized UPND and President Hakainde Hichilema by dressing a dog in a UNPD attire and to date the PF leadership has never tendered an apology, not even the Church stood up to condemn the act.’

Mr Lifwekelo said the PF and the Head of State must first recognize that the opposition leaders have a role to play in the governance of the country’s affairs and in return opposition leaders will give the Head of State space to govern.

‘Even a dog when it realizes the owner does not like it, it will always run and hide until the owner gives it respect, sometimes it even bites the owner.’