The Church and civil society organisations have accused President Michael Sata of insulting and lacking moral gratitude towards Zambians.
In a hard hitting statement on behalf of the Church and civil society organizations, Catholic Priest and Zambia Episcope Conference (ZEC) spokesperson Fr. Cleophas Lungu said that President Sata’s new position on the constitution was a direct insult to the people of Zambia and had fallen short of any moral gratitude.
Addressing the media yesterday at Golden Bridge Hotel, on behalf of civil society organisations, the three mother Church bodies, opposition political parties and Zambians in general Fr. Lungu said it had become clear that President Sata and the Patriotic Front government did not mean well for the country.
President Sata while in Mansa declared that the Zambia did not need a new constitution and that if there were any defects in the current constitution, they could be corrected by mere amendments, a statement which has raised angry reactions from a cross section of society including the Catholic Church.
Fr. Lungu said, “It is not only a direct insult to the Zambian people to say that they did not need a new constitution but also falls short of any moral gratitude. The statement confirms one fundamental fact, that the PF party and its President do not mean well for this country. Every Zambian looks at the constitution as the bedrock, the heart and soul of good and democratic governance. We believe that in order for our country to make any meaningful leaps in development, democratic governance must be at the core of our agenda.”
He said that it was the duty of the church, the civil society organization and Zambians at large to respond and demand for the constitution because the document was not a preserve of few individuals in government.
Fr. Lungu noted that the committee of experts was appointed to collect views from all corners of the country in order to draft and present a constitution that would reflect the aspirations and desires of the people.
He said it was shocking that government had decided to reject the terms of reference that were spelt out by President Sata at the time he was swearing in the Technical Committee Drafting the constitution.
“Within the provisions of the Terms of Reference of the Technical Committee, there is specific reference to the committee to draft the constitution of Zambia Bill which shall set a commencement date for the new constitution, deal with the transitional and other issues for the effective transition into a new constitutional regime. Now we ask as citizens of our beloved country, after spending over K100 Million of taxpayer money what has changed to warrant the need for amendments in the current constitution. Is not this daylight abrogation of moral and social commitments agreed between the governors and the governed? Clearly, this is abuse of the trust and goodwill invested by the people of Zambia in the PF government,” he said.
He said while in the opposition the PF opposed the constitution making process under the National Constitution Conference indicating that the process would be a drain on national resources.
Fr. Lungu said that the PF instead indicated that they would enact a new constitution within 90 days, adding that it was the chorus of their campaign song and it earned them many praises which resulted in their winning the 2011 elections.
The consortium observed that it was now clear that the PF government and its leadership had a premeditated scheme to deceive Zambians over the constitution.
“As we see it, it is now clear that there is a premeditated scheme to deceive and deny the Zambians a people-driven constitution. We say this because we see a serious disconnect between all the promises that they have been making since 2011 compared to what has been obtaining since October, 2013.We now fully understand why the P.F. refused to bring to parliament a legislative bill to protect the process and content of the draft constitution. It would go against their premeditated scheme of not delivering a people driven constitution,” they said.
Fr. Lungu reminded Zambians that a people driven constitution was not th preserve of a few individuals and called on all Zambians, the church, political parties, the poor and the rich to go back to their constituencies and mobilize people to demand for the immediate release of the draft constitution.
“We want to state in no uncertain terms that a people driven constitution is not a preserve of a privileged few but, like the bible, it is a document for every citizen, poor and rich. We urge all Zambians from all walks of life irrespective of social, religious, political affiliation to walk in solidarity with one another and stop President Sata and his P.F government from abusing public trust and goodwill.