Mass Constitution demos underway

Peaceful mass demonstrations are to be held nationwide to press government to release a clear road map on the constitution.

Civil Society Organsations have decided on demonstrations because it has become evident that the Patriotic Front is not interested in giving Zambians a people driven new constitution.

CSOs, the three church mother bodies, opposition political parties, trade unions and student bodies have resolved to mount pressure country wide in peaceful mass demonstrations.

In a terse statement released after a meeting that included Hakainde Hichilema of the UPND, Nevers Mumba of the MMD, People’s Party (PP) president Mike Mulongoti, Frank Bwalya of the Alliance for a Better Zambia (ABZ), FDD spokesperson Antonio Mwanza, NAREP and ZADECO’s Langton Sichone, the Grand Coalition has demanded that the technical committee on drafting the constitution should immediately acquit themselves of the responsibility by releasing the final draft constitution.

The Grand Coalition on the Constitution has also branded the PF government unpatriotic and has vowed that they would be ready to be arrested and brutalized by the Zambia Police which they have accused of implementing the Public Order Act on partisan lines.

The demand for the immediate release of the second and final draft constitution yesterday reached its crescendo in a spirit galvanized in a rear sense of unity of purpose with Judith Mulenga, coalition vice chairperson declaring that whether President Michael Sata liked or not, Zambians would without fail give unto themselves a constitution that would meet their aspirations.

Mulenga said Zambians have decided to unite over the demand for immediate release of the draft constitution despite political, cultural, religious, and social differences to embark on a mass mobilization to ensure that all well-meaning Zambians must mount sustained pressure on the PF government in demanding the release of the final draft constitution.

Government in collusion with some selected media houses have launched a propaganda campaign against the constitution making process and have over the weeks lined up unsuspecting chiefs to discredit the contents of the draft constitution.

Mulenga said the Grand Coalition, the leaders of the opposition political parties, church mother bodies, trade unions and student bodies were deeply concerned with the PF Members of Parliament (MPs) who had decided to betray Zambians by shooting down the constitution motion that should have provided a road map and expedite the constitution making process.

“We, the members of the Grand Coalition comprising political parties, trade unions, civil society organisations (CSOs), church mother bodies, student unions, Human Rights activists and student bodies after hours of deliberations have therefore resolved that we shall release a clear constitutional road map as the government does not one. We will embark on country wide mass peaceful demonstrations to pressure government for the release of the draft constitution and that we are prepared for the police and whatever they will do to us. We are prepared to be brutalized and arrested because we stand for the people. This brutality has been there before and we are ready,” Mulenga said.

Mulenga said all options including constructive engagements would continue to be explored to ensure that a new and people driven constitution was enacted.

She said the action by PF MPs in Parliament had vindicated many Zambians who had serious doubts on the PF commitment to deliver a constitution stating that the shooting down of the constitutional motion was a clear indication that that the PF government was not interested in giving Zambians a constitution.

She said the constitution motion was the highest level of dialogue between the legislature and the Executive adding the PF government had squandered the opportunity and that Zambians had no option but to give themselves their desired constitution.

The Grand Coalition has strongly condemned police brutality on the youths during the Youth Day celebrations where more than 40 youths were brutalized and arrested for demanding that government should release the draft constitution.