Constitution making process Collapses

The constitution making process has collapsed and the Technical Committee has thrown in the towel and washed their hands of the matter having failed to reason with the executive that has decreed that the committee should ignore its terms of reference and only print ten copies of the document exclusively for President Michael Sata.

The committee has surrendered its quest to print 25,000 copies that should have been handed over simutaneously to President Michael Sata and the public and has decided to deliver the ten copies to State House so that they could ‘get out of the picture’ of the constitution making process.

Committee spokesperson Ernest Mwansa said at a media briefing at Government Complex yesterday that it was shocking that the people who had given the terms of reference to the technical committe were no longer interested in their own terms and were determined to have the final draft of the constitution to themselves.

Mwansa said the appointing authority had directedthat the Committee should not presenting the document to the people because the constitution making process would be solely supervised by government.

Mwansa who was at pains to explain and at times almost at the point of breaking down, said the failure by his committee to convince government to have the document handed to President Sata and the public at the same time was painful.

He said the members of the committee had been hitting their heads against the war in trying to reason with the appointing authority and had therefore decided to deliver the document to President Sata adding it would be up the presidency to decide what to do with it.

He said the committee could not continue arguing with the executive and that they had decided that for the sake of time and posterity, it was better to give the document to President Sata.

“I wish to say that we have failed. Our request to the government to print adequate copies of the draft constitution and to simultaneously present it to the President and the public has not yeilded any positive results. The technical committee has not been given the mandate by the government to print adequte copies of the final draft constitution, report of the technical commitee and the constitution of Zambia bill to facilitate handover. The committee, therefore is left with no option but to hand over the documents to the appointing authority alone. We have been told not to distribute you and it is therefore not a question of money,” Mwansa said.

Civil Society Organisations were incensed with the development with most of them calling on the technical committee to ignore the decree from the executive and instead hand the documents to the public because the constitution was not a matter for the political party in power. NGOCC executive director Engwase Mwale, Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) executive director MacDonald Chipenzi, Operation Young Vote (OYV) executive director and political parties that attended the briefing were strongly opposed to the idea of the document being handed over to President Sata alone.

People’s Party (PP) president Mike Mulongoti and United Party for National Development (UPND) vice president administration Richard Kapita told the technical committee that time had come for them to chose which part of history they would want to belong to.

But Mwansa in response said the committe had failed and that if the executive was going to change the contents of the document, there was nothing they could do but warned that the state would have to be ready because the members of the committee were ready to speak the truth.