On Thursday President Michael Sata assured Diplomats that Government was determined to deliver a people driven constitution.
A day later when the Minister of Justice spoke in Parliament he clearly stated that the constitution was not a priority because government was more concerned with eliminating poverty and social deprivation.
This is provocative duplicity.
Clearly the Minister of Justice is not reading from the same page as the rest of the nation, as he seems determined to provoke the nation into perpetual uproar, crisis and polemics, a situation that is totally uncalled for.
The people of Zambia including the Church, civil society and indeed Constitution Coalition has been calling of the government to set up a very clear road map that will safeguard both the content and the process of the constitution making process.
This has not been forthcoming
Sadly this duplicity appears to have been extended to the speaker of the national speaker Dr. Matibini whom we believe with good intent brokered a meeting between the opposition and the executive resulting in the motion presented to parliament by Hon. Gary Nkombo yesterday.
Again however, the statement by Wynter Kabimba has put paid without effort as it has become clear that the Speakers effort may come to naught.
The penchant for inflammatory statements that cause anger and outrage by Wynter seems infinite.
His provocative statement not only put Parliament into turmoil but has slowly drawn civil society, media and other actors into a highly charged debate that is unlikely to produce any positive results.
Proverbs 15:1 says, “a soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger”.
The anger in the nation is palpable and the executive must understand that reneging on promises takes away from integrity and the credibility of government.
The statement from State House says and we quote: “During a closed-door meeting with members of the Diplomatic Corps and International Organisations accredited to Zambia, President Sata assured the nation and various stakeholders including diplomats that Government is still committed to the process of Constitution review.
“In this regard, after the receipt of the report from the Technical Committee, Government will consider the recommendations, because we have to factor the logistical and financial repercussions in order not to derail other pressing developmental projects,” the statement said.
The statement gave a semblance of hope as it suggested that Government was prepared and keen to establish a clear roadmap towards the process that would incorporate various stakeholders in identifying problems, potential and ability to undertake the mammoth task of creating a new constitution.
Sadly what Wynter said is the direct opposite.
The suggestion that poverty and depravation must be dealt with first before constitution making defeats and undermines the wishes concerns and aspirations of the Zambian people, as indeed Mark 14:7 says “The poor you will always have with you”
Poverty cannot be eradicated overnight, it demands a sustained process supported by an equally robust constitution to eradicate.