The National Restoration Party (NAREP) has appealed to President Michael Sata to consider calling for early elections because the Head of State is going through terrible hardships and is fatigued and stressed with the burden of running a country with huge economic, political and social challenges.
And NAREP has called on the opposition political parties to consider sponsoring a non-partisan presidential candidate in the 2016 general elections for a limited period of nine months with the primary responsibility of facilitating the enactment of the new constitution because it had become that the Patriotic Front (PF) was determined not to deliver the people driven constitution within their term of office.
NAREP president Elias Chipimo has predicted that Zambia could have early elections on account of President Sata seeming exhaustion and stress with the overwhelming presidential responsibilities.
Mr Chipimo said whether the PF leadership liked or not, Zambia would be going for the general elections in 2016 because the current constitution dictates that the country would have elections every September of the five year term.
He said if the PF was scheming to delay the enactment of the new constitution so that the elections could be delayed, the ruling party should be ready to face the resistance of the Zambians because the current constitution would have to be breached to postpone the elections.
“This is not the Zambia we bargained for when we fought the one party state. Whether the PF like or not, we are going to have the general elections in 2016 because that is what is enshrined in the current constitution. We may have the general elections even before 2016 on account of either the health of the President or fatigue. President Sata may call for early elections and I call on the President to call for early general elections. He is going through terrible hardships and I feel sorry for him,” Mr Chipimo said.
Mr Chipimo said a collective misery was being experienced across all sectors of society in Zambia and that it had become unquestionably clear that the country was in dire need for a united opposition that should agree to sponsor one and non-partisan presidential candidate that would form a caretaker government to spearhead the urgent enactment of the new constitution within the first nine months after the elections.
Mr Chipimo has said the high cost of living and the denial of basic rights and freedoms had combined to create a deep sense of despondency and concern about Zambia’s future particularly that the PF was directionless yet the ruling party was steadfastly determined to hold on to power at any cost.
Launching what he termed the Restoration of Zambian Democracy blueprint, Mr Chipimo said intolerance was increasingly being exhibited by those violently championing the cause of the ruling party in the face of powerless law enforcement machinery that had consistently turned a blind eye to the violation of people’s rights.
“They pretend to the nation and the world that the real reason for delaying the constitution making process is to prioritize development when the real reason for their resistance is that they want to hold on to power solely to benefit themselves and their supporters,” Mr Chipimo said.
Mr Chipimo said through perfectly legal means, Zambians were able to reverse the undemocratic trends that had gripped the nation through the PF leadership and proposed that one of the ways was for the opposition to shelve their personal interests and unite so that they could sponsor one candidate in 2016.
He said the PF was an obstacle in the constitution making process and that Zambians could legitimately remove the obstacle and restore the country towards tolerance, inclusiveness and a better life for all.
Mr Chipimo explained that if the plan of sponsoring a non-partisan presidential candidate by the opposition political parties was going to work, it would easily unite the opposition and other stakeholders that would coordinate a mass movement of voters that would elect a neutral president for a restricted period of nine months.
“The primary responsibility of this person will be to usher in a new constitution and oversee the creation of a level playing field under which fresh and more inclusive elections can be held as soon as all the necessary measures are in place. We are not proposing a parallel government from the current PF administration and we believe that in the absence of unity, a divided opposition could see the continuation of the system of abusive control and intimidation that had characterized the short period of governance by the PF,” Mr Chipimo said.
He said the interim united opposition government would have to appoint professional and politically neutral persons to head state institutions and law enforcement agencies that would protect the democratic freedoms of the country.
“We ask all politicians and all political and non-political stakeholders to set aside partisan and personal interests. We ask them to support this plan and negotiate and sign a comprehensive framework agreement that will usher in long overdue constitutional change in Zambia in order to liberate our people from poverty and the tyranny of excessive state power.
“ We owe it to ourselves and to the future generations to take every legitimate action to prevent continued violence, intimidation, and financial misery from becoming a permanent feature in our social, political and economic landscape,” Mr Chipimo said.