If there has ever been a provocative politician in Zambia’s modern history, Patriotic Front Secretary General Wynter Kabimba must rank at the very top of the list.
He has the unusual knack and propensity to pick fights and arguments even where none were indicated. This entire constitution making debacle has been a total disaster because he has handled it very badly.
Thanks to his atitude, in any normal functioning democracy the first agenda of business when Parliament resumes would have been a motion of no confidence in the Government.
For a whole Minister of Justice to claim and suggest that a referendum was untenable because Government could not afford the K15 million to conduct a census for a referendum on the Constitution, is mockery of the Zambian people.
He was saying this fully aware that Cooperating partners have offered to fund the process.
He has further suggested that the legal process of a referendum would take more than 15 months to complete, thereby putting the constitution beyond the 2016 elections.
In other words the constitution making process has been overtaken by both time and resources.
Both arguments are as vacuous as they are totally untenable. When was a road map charted to determine that the process has been delayed? The argument by civil society and the church has always been the lack of a road map ring fenced by law to protect both the process and content of the constitution.
The Government has failed on both.
Instead of admitting as much Wynter continued the blame game by claiming that the constitution making process has been delayed by those who wanted to hijack the process.
This cannot be further from the truth.
The most annoying aspect of the debate as articulated by Wynter is his dismissive and nonchalant regard for the very strong feelings of the Zambian people who are demanding for the constitution, when he even dismisses the support that donor countries have offered to facilitate the process.
Addressing a partisan audience in Choma at the weekend Wynter acknowledged that co-operating partners had offered money for the constitution-making process but that Government could not proceed because it wanted “ first to ensure that it develops the country.”
He is reported to have said “While we appreciate the offer of money for the constitution-making process, why should our co-operating partners not give us this money for development first?”
This was because, according to Wynter, much as the constitution-making process was important it should be subordinated to development.
President Michael Sata must know that this type of provocation does not sit well wioth the Zambian people who are being insulted.
We would not be surprised that level head Ministers and senior Party officials equally feel let down by this type of discourse which is demeaning.