Opposition political parties have accused the Patriotic Front (PF) of playing delaying tactics to ensure that the constitution is not enacted before the 2016 general elections.
During a media briefing yesterday, spokesperson for the 16 political parties Charles Milupi has since vowed that the opposition would not subscribe to what he termed time wasting-tactics.
“We know that President Sata Wynter Kabimba do not want a new constitution and we think that this is diversionary. It is buying time. The view of PF from what we can discern from their statements is that they want to go into 2016 elections on the current constitution because they believe it favors them. So the more time they buy by bringing issues such going to meet the people. They claim there is no money for a referendum and yet there is money for by-elections and all other wasteful expenditures that we are witnessing. We cannot subscribe to this time wasting tactics,” Milupi said.
The opposition leaders who have written to President Sata to have a round table meeting to address the impasse allegedly created by the PF have rubbished the SACCORD organised indaba on the constitution that is supposed to take place on Wednesday next week.
“We all feel the SACCORD meeting does not take into account the stage at which the political parties have reached with regards to the constitution making process. As opposition political parties, we are focusing on engaging the Head of State so as to address the impasse created by the PF government,” Mr Milupi said.
He said the country was currently facing challenges ranging from misapplication of the Public Order Act, the political violence and hooliganism being perpetrated by the cadres of the ruling party, the vices Zambians wanted to address.
Milupi charged that the opposition political parties were currently not permitted to function in the country as the democratic space had continued to shrink.
“Almost all the challenges the country is facing today have been addressed in the Draft Constitution which the PF is now refusing to give to the Zambian people,” Mr Milupi said.
He said it was immoral to start discussing Clauses and Articles of the Draft Constitution as the process for debating were completed through the district, provincial and national conventions.
Mr Milupi said the opposition leaders expected Statwe House to be professional in handling the letter they delivered on April 16.
And UPND president Hakainde Hichilema said the reason the 16 political parties were united underscored the importance of their desire to have a new constitution delivered before 2016.
“People have been waiting for their constitution for far too long and a lot of money has been spent. The letter to the President is a decent and honorable way of basically invoking the presidency to act honorably. If he does not agree to the meeting, we have alternatives; we have other actions that we will embark on that will help deliver the constitution,” Hichilema said.
He said there would be processes to ensure that the constitution was delivered because the people were stronger than any dictator.
And MMD president Nevers Mumba said the opposition leaders would not be intimidated by the PF cadres through their threats and violence.
NAREP president Elias Chipimo said President Sata was to blame for the lawlessness among political cadres in the country.
“To put blame on a body like the police service whose leadership is appointed by the Head of State is to shift the blame. There is no doubt that the police have acknowledged and accepted the state of lawlessness that we are currently experiencing as a nation,” said Chipimo.