Opposition naivety

What happened at court in Lusaka yesterday must be condemned in the strongest terms possible.

At the most charitable, we can assume that the event was an act of God- an accident that was entirely out of the control of the driver of the vehicle that ploughed into the crowd of UPND supporters who thronged the court in solidarity with their President Hakainde Hichilema.

Less charitable we assume that the driver may have panicked and lost control of the vehicle after losing his nerve in the presence of the huge partisan crowd.

At worst; we give the benefit of doubt to  UPND officials who believe that the act was a deliberate “suicide mission” intended to injure and create outrage.

It would have been our wish that the Police investigated the matter to its logical conclusion, but sadly this may be too much to expect given that those injured were from the opposition UPND.

We fear that once again little if anything at all will be done to bring the culprit or indeed culprits to book for the injuries suffered by the opposition members.

We hope our opposition parties can now see a pattern to the various seemingly disparate events as we draw towards 2016.

Firstly it is not by coincidence that the President of the two most important opposition parties, represented in Parliament, are facing various charges in courts of law. The outcome of these cases will have an impact on 2016. If convicted, the two will not be able to contest the elections.

Secondly; the impasse on the constitution is not by coincidence.  It must be clear that there will be no new constitution before the 2016 elections. It is most likely that   a vandalized version of the draft crafted by the technical committee will be made available in the next few months.

This version naturally will create predictable outrage which may claim further casualties to the penal system. The aim  again will be to produce sterile debate that will create further polarization.

Thirdly; the vandalized version may be presented to Parliament for enactment at a suitable occasion when the Patriotic Front has a two thirds majority and have it enacted to ensure that possible contenders do not have an opportunity of contesting.

Under the present situation, given the prevailing constitution and in view of the immense powers held by our very partisan oversight institution, these situations are quite feasible and there is precious little that the opposition can do.That is why an interim Government after the 2016 elections is absolutely vital.

There must be as period of redress, refinement and renewal. This is the period in which the overtly partisan and self serving actions of the present Government will be reversed to create a level playing field in which all parties including the Patriotic Front will be able to participate.

The interim Government will abolish all the discriminatory and oppressive pieces of legislation including the Public Order Act to give all parties an opportunity to canvas and campaign freely. The President in this Government would also pardon all the victims of repressive legislation thus paving way for free and fair elections.

The interim Government will also sweep away  partisan office holders  currently enforcing discriminatory  and  unfair laws that are disadvantaging the opposition.

In this intervening period a new constitution would also be enacted. Hopefully the opposition coalition would have garnered enough supportto ensure the enactment of an inclusive, popular and all embracing constitution.

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