Constitution contradictions

The Government has a duty and responsibility to give the electorate a meaningful and reasoned response to the demand for a new constitution.

In this regard the Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba has been totally unhelpful. At least we know that the President is not interested, however it is a fact that public funds have been expended on this exercise, therefore a way forward must be charted, the sooner the better.

Otherwise the contradictions emanating from Government give credence to speculation that not even Government has a common position on the matter because the Government is not really driving the process.

The most recent statement on the matter came from the Minister of Defence Edgar Lungu who rightly affirmed a referendum will be held to pass the constitution, however expensive the exercise because this was a demand from the people.

This statement came hot on the heels of another statement by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Gabriel Namulambe who very categorically stated that Government had no money to spend on the constitution making process.

This very telling statement was not contradicted until the Minister of Defence talked about the referendum.

One interpretation of the current situation as surmised by the Non Governmental Coordinating Council suggests that the current confusion among senior Government officials shows that they too are confused about the process, thereby not inspiring any confidence in the process.

The constitution making process is too important an endeavor to be left in such indeterminate limbo, more so that President Michael Sata made it as one of the campaign issues. Many Zambians voted for the Patriotic Front in the hope that a new constitution would be enacted to give life and vision to a dynamic democracy whose principles were clearly enunciated in the supreme law of the land.

It is not an understatement to state that a new constitution will represent the birth and dawn of  the second liberation, indicating the maturation of our nascent democratic enterprise.

After 50 years of indigenous rule Zambians have come to learn and appreciate that independence without real political power being vested in the  people is an exercise in futility because it gives birth to further authoritarianism which may be more oppressive.

  Zambians want a constitution that provides safeguards that ensure leadership will be accountable and answerable. The constitution must truly give the electorate political power to determine their destiny.

Zambia are concerned that this process should not elude them again, because many attempts have been made before. These include efforts in 1973, 1991. This is in addition to many amendments made in 1969 and 1996.

This includes the Chona Commission of 1972 which resulted in the one party state; the Mvunga Commission in 1991; the Mwanakatwe Commission and finally Mungomba Commission in 2003.

Many lessons have been learnt from these exercises, time has now come for the second liberation when a progressive supreme law of the land will be enacted making the leaders truly answerable to the people.