Opposition Heritage party leader brigadier general Godfrey Miyanda says government must not be overly sensitive and defensive when citizens ask them to clarify issues.
Gen Miyanda said citizens were free to dialogue with government and participate in national issues either as individuals or as members of a group, including the group commonly called “The Opposition”.
He said it was part of their system to oppose and challenge executive decisions and actions that did not meet expected outcomes.
However, he urged and hoped that in such discourse there is a productive outcome that increases knowledge and understanding of issues as well as compelling the executive to truthfully provide answers.
The general said this in an open letter to Mr Mwansa Kapeya deputy minister of information after he gave him a 24 hour ultimatum to outline the legal frame work for the constitution.
“On 12th April 2013, in response to a statement by the Deputy Minister of the Information and Broadcasting, Hon Mwansa Kapeya, I undertook to respond to his challenge within 24 hours, subject to his responding to my counter challenge.
“It is more than 24 hours and the Minister has not responded. I am thus ending the duel because it is not worthwhile to debate alone. Suffice to say that I had no ill motive raising a fundamental question regarding the making and writing of our Constitution,” read the letter.
He said he does not and never considered cheap publicity as a reason for debate.
Gen Miyanda emphasized that debate of national issues was important as long as there was substance and it was devoid of rancour and character assassination.
“See how many Zambians actually believed the PF 90 day myth and now are frustrated and disillusioned! The whole idea is to exchange knowledge, provide leadership and to bond together as civilised human beings. That way we gain fresh insights into new or other ideas that we had not visualised”.
He said in this view the Deputy Minister had tacitly conceded that there is no provision that had been promulgated to establish either the “Committee of Experts” or “The Technical Committee on the Drafting of the Zambian Constitution”.
“Hence there is no legal framework vis a vis the route the submissions by the Committee will take and what happens to the document; it is at the discretion of the Executive. It is too late to do anything about this since the National Convention has ended. From my side this debate and chapter is closed – NO WINNER, NO VANQUISHED,” he stated.