PF govt ‘steals’ constitution

Sponsored Patriotic Front (PF) delegates have been accused of frustrating efforts of enacting and formulating a people driven constitution by sabotaging initiatives to provide a legal frame work that will safeguard the work of the ongoing national constitutional convention.

The legal frame work is intended to bind government to the outcome of the current national constitutional convention.

They instead want the draft constitution to be presented to President Michael Sata who in turn would subject it to cabinet debate where amendments and changes could be made before being passed.

“If this happens, the PF government rather than the national consensus will prevail meaning that this constitution will not have the legitimacy and support of the people of Zambia,” delegates have complained.

Among the many vocal candidates opposed to the enactment of the constitution by the national convention are Father Frank Bwalya who was recently awarded the position of chairman of ZESCO and National Revolution Party president Cosmo Mumba supporting the PF agenda.”

The move has created serious controversy and many delegates feel that Zambians have been duped again from having a constitution that would represent the wishes of the people.

Hundreds of people from various sectors of society gathering to make the final contributions to the first draft constitution before the final one is formulated and handed over to President Michael Sata have expressed mixed feeling on the mode to be used as they fear taking it to the President the document will be vetoed.

But people from North Western Province have noted that the draft constitution in its current state did not give room for equal distribution of power and resources at every level of governance.

North-Western Federation of Business and Development president Mukumbi Kafuta said there were flaws in the draft constitution particularly on issues of federal governance despite talks about decentralization.

Mr Kafuta told the Daily Nation that delegates should take matters of interests seriously and selflessly if they were to come up with a people driven constitution that will stand the test of time and give equal development opportunities to all regions simultaneously.

He said Zambians were expectant that the outcome from the meeting and that Zambians must endorse and have the ultimate voice about a document on which they aspired to be governed.

“Nothing will stop the Zambian people to support clauses they deem fit for the country. It is therefore for delegates to rectify the mistakes and unanimously choose things beneficial to people. Any attempt to manipulate the Constitution making process will be met with resistance by the people who want a document that will stand the test of time,” he said.

And during the official opening, Acting President Edgar Lungu said the national constitution convention marked the conclusion of the formal consultative process on drafting the Zambian constitution, and demonstrated that Zambians were capable of working together for the common good of the nation.

The national convention will receive and consider the comments and recommendations from the ten provincial conventions and further examine and deliberate on the clauses of the first draft constitution.

The convention will also prepare and submit a national convention report which will highlight the comments and recommendations to the technical committee for consideration in preparing the final draft constitution.

However, the proceedings of the national convention will be conducted in working groups and plenary sessions that will be assigned parts of the first draft constitution to consider before the convention closes next week on Wednesday.