VETERAN politician Vernon Mwaanga says politics is not war.

And Mwaanga says he is hopeful that UPND president Hakainde Hichilema and President Edgar Lungu’s handshake at Daniel Munkombwe’s burial in Monze last week will lead to political unity and harmony.

In an interview, Mwaanga said just like the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga have reconciled, he was hopeful that the Kabebya Farm gesture by President Lungu and opposition leaders who included UPND vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, MMD’s Nevers Mumba and Chishimba Kambwili was an indication of good things to come.

“I hope that the handshakes between HH and President Edgar Lungu is an indication of good things to come. Our Kenyan brothers and sisters set a very good precedent…we did not fight for independence for us to be enemies, so I hope those handshakes, firstly by the opposition leaders led by HH going to greet President Lungu and the First Lady and when leaving, President Lungu went over to greet the opposition leaders. I do hope that this is the beginning of the beginning for the best,” Mwaanga said.

“Munkombwe and I were never on the same page politically, he was in ANC and I was in UNIP, he went on to join UNIP, MMD, PF and UPND, this is because everyone is entitled to enjoy their political rights and this must be done in a civilised manner. I hope the young people can learn from the handshakes that politics is not war, we don’t want to see pangas, stones and sticks, those are politics of ancient times. We need to be civilized.”

On Wednesday during the burial of Munkombwe, Mwaanga told hundreds of mourners who included President Lungu, opposition leaders, chiefs and several members of parliament that the handshake was what Munkombwe had desired.

“I am happy that he has been given exactly what he wanted – a peaceful and orderly send off…I am sure that Munkombwe is clapping in his grave to see you (President Lungu) shake hands with all the opposition leaders. It was his wish to see harmony and peace for Zambia,” said Mwaanga.