The Patriotic Front government is petrified by the 50+1 majority vote provision in the final draft constitution and has hatched schemes to extend the constitution making process for yet another year so that the 2016 elections would be held under the current constitution which allows for a simple majority, the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) has revealed.
The deliberate stand-off between the government and the Technical Committee Drafting the Constitution is meant to cause confusion to create frustration among the citizens so that they could abandon their quest of having a new constitution before the next general elections.
FODEP executive director MacDonald Chipenzi has disclosed that there were schemes by the government to elongate the constitution making process to 2015 so that the country could go for the next general elections under the old constitution to avoid the contentious 50+1 percent vote for the presidential candidate and the presidential running mate.
Chipenzi has called on all stakeholders and patriotic Zambians to be watchful of the government’s manuevours and thwart any attempts of extending the constitution making process meant for political survival.
The FODEP chief has said there were indications that the government was not willing to see the constitution making process finished and that was why the Ministry of Justice had decided to create constitutional consternation by ordering the Technical Committee to print only ten copies of the draft to be delivered to President Michael Sata.
He said the controversy surrounding the printing and eventual presentation of the final draft constitution to President Sata and the public simultaneously was unnecessary and that Zambians should not tolerate any further delay of the process.
Chipenzi said Zambians had for a long time taken for a ride in the constitution making process adding successive governments had failed to deliver a durable constitution because they had politicized the process that should have been smooth and without controversy.
He said the current stand-off between the government and the Technical Committee meant that for as long as the committee maintained its stance of not signing the draft report, the process would continue dragging beyond the year 2014.
“We have information that government is scheming to elongate the constitution making process by another full year. We are calling on all stakeholders to be alert because there are signs that the constitution making process could be delayed. It is very clear that government has created a deliberate stand-off between the Technical Committee and itself so that there should be some confusion and delays the process. This government is not ready to deliver a people’s driven and popular constitution and their plans must be pre-empted and thwarted,” Chipenzi said.
He said it was disturbing that government had failed to keep its promise of delivering a durable and universally accepted constitution in 90 days and that it was worrying that the PF leadership was now looking for excuses to buy time and delay process.