We shall not succumb on Constitution

Civil society organisations will not succumb to pressure from the government in their bid to have a constitution that will stand the test of time, Forum for Democratic Process (FODEP) executive director McDonald Chipenzi has charged.

Chipenzi said the CSOs would not sit idle and allow the manipulation of the Constitution where a lot of resources were spent.

Chipenzi was disappointed with the silence from the Church, the opposition parties and other civil society organisation that had failed to highlight issues regarding lapses in the national constitution making process.

Chipenzi said that he was aware that the government was frightened by the 50+1 majority vote provision in the final draft constitution and it was for this reason they were extending 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.

He said that there would be no constitution even if as announced by the government that it would be ready by the end of December.

Chipenzi said that it was unfair that CSOs were denied permissions to address themselves and protest over the manner in which the constitution process was handled, adding that it was for this reason they appeared to be not doing enough to pressure the government to deliver to the people.

“Each and every Zambian has a duty to ensure the government delivers a people driven constitution, and it is not a thing to be left to one particular group of people,” he said.

Chipenzi wondered why the PF cadres were permitted to protest and how, and bring threats to the nation, when the CSOs were not allowed to express their grievances lawfully.

He said the government had plans to extend 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 for the presidential running mate.

Chipenzi however called on the people of Zambia to support efforts made by stakeholders in trying to ensure they received a document that was beneficial.

“It will not be helpful if again the country fails to come up with a document that will satisfy the needs of individuals. We are really trying as an organisation to make sure the government meets the demands of people,” he said.