CCZ worried about constitution stalemate

The Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) has said it is extremely disappointed that the constitution making process has abruptly stalled and that there has not been any tangible explanation on the part of government to Zambians, and why there had been a sudden stalemate on the process.

CCZ president Reverend Alfred Kalembo has urged President Michael Sata to be the voice of reason in the country by putting back on track the constitution making process together with a roadmap so that Zambians could have a new constitution as a gift when celebrating the country’s independence golden jubilee.

Speaking at a media briefing on behalf of all the heads of churches under CCZ, Rev Kalembo said the matter of the Constitution making process was not for the Patriotic Front (PF) government alone but that the process belonged to the people who were determined to have a new constitution.

Rev Kalembo said Zambians were determined to give unto themselves a new, durable and people driven constitution which would give them economic, social and political hope apart from motivation, and inspiration for the future and that of their children.

The CCZ president said President Sata stood a good chance to be hailed as the man who changed the country for the good of citizens and for the sake of prosperity.

He said should President Sata and his government deliver to the Zambians a new people-driven constitution, his action would go in the annals of Zambia’s history as a time when the country was governed by a president who selflessly honoured his pledge and walked the talk.

Rev Kalembo said the act of delivering the constitution would make President Sata stand out as a man who made good promises and redeemed Zambia from squalidness and mediocrity adding that CCZ was calling for dialogue over the constitution as a matter of urgency.

“We are disappointed that the constitution making process has abruptly stalled. We are at pains to understand why this state of affairs has prevailed. From the beginning, the church had unreservedly supported the initiative by the President to set up a technical committee to oversee the formulation of the constitution. Worse still, no tangible explanation has been forthcoming on the reason for the stalemate. The church will not relent in demanding for a people driven constitution which the PF government promised,” Rev Kalembo said.

And United Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa Kabwata Presbytery overseer Reverend Jane Nyirongo warned that time would soon come when Zambians would declare that they have had enough of broken promises from government and rise to claim their right in the constitution making process.

Rev Nyirongo said the Church was not calling for dialogue because she feared anything from government but that the call was based on the value that leaders should never allow the country to degenerate into lawlessness.

Rev Nyirongo said President Sata and the PF government had been provided with a chance to redeem themselves by abandoning the acrimonious stance it had taken over the constitution making process and yield to the demands of citizens.

Meanwhile, CCZ has also said that it was disheartening that the cost of living had continued to rise in Zambia and had adversely affected citizens especially the rural and majority poor.

Rev Kalembo said while the church welcomed revelations that there were savings from the removal of subsidies, it was worrying that government had been slow to channel the resources to social sectors because there was a real danger that the funds could easily be diverted to the never ending by-elections.

The church mother body has also expressed concern over government’s decision to award mining licences to prospective investors without considering the adverse effects of the mining activities in such areas.

The church has further said she was concerned with the double standards in the fight against corruption stating President Sata had exhibited selective prosecution where some ministers were instantly fired while others were being treated like sacred cows.