The Grand Coalition on the people driven constitution for Zambia must now move on and transform itself into a proactive dream coalition that will take the full mantle to deliver to the people of Zambia conditions that will lead to the enactment of the much desired second liberation constitution.
It must spearhead a non partisan, non political and all inclusive drive towards an initiative that will culminate in the enactment of a constitution that expresses the hopes, aspiration and wishes of all Zambians.
We hold no realistic hope that Government will heed the coalition call for the immediate release of the draft constitution. If they do, you can be rest assured that the document will not be the original draft leaked to the nation.
Therefore the most viable course of action, in our view, is for the coalition which has fantastic credential and bona fides to lead a non-partisan and none political campaign to deliver a constitution that will serve Zambia into perpetuity.
We say so because the coalition constituted among other institutions the church and civil society enjoys tremendous public confidence and will therefore inspire public support when it mounts a non-political crusade based on values and principles that will promote democracy, good governance respect for human rights and more importantly non-violence.
Already the threat of violence is looming large. Threats and counter threats have been the order of the day, long before real election contestation starts.
There is no doubt that left to politicians the entire exercise will quickly degenerate into partisan feuds that are bound to derail and eventually undermine the effort. Political parties will participate if they subscribe to and support an alliance of common purpose.
The independence and non-partisanship of the Grand Coalition qualifies it as the most suited to lead and champion the cause for a new constitution.
While we support the current coalition crusade for the draft constitution to be released, we envisage a grave tactical and strategic pitfall that will compromise the effort, if and when the Government finally releases its draft.
Chances are that the coalition will become embroiled in a sterile debate over the content thereby losing valuable time that could have been gained in consolidating its own independent framework, timeline and flexibility in action.
How indeed will the coalition respond to a Government draft that removes the “contentious” clauses and introduces instead even more discriminatory clauses meant to disadvantage other contestants?
We fear that the coalition is being driven towards a cul de sac and dead end.
How indeed will the coalition respond to a Government draft that removes the “contentious” clauses and instead introduces even more discriminatory clauses meant to disadvantage other contestants?
What will result is a generalized constitution polemic with no discernible value, direction or end. The only purpose it will serve is to engage the public as days to the 2016 draw near.
That is why in our view the Chipimo alternative, of a neutral interim Government, offers a creative role the dream coalition can play in delivering a truly independent constitution free of political party influence.
The coalition which includes the church has sufficient moral and persuasive authority to guide, cajole and browbeat political parties to keep them in check, should they want to politicize the effort.
Opposition parties interested in a comprehensive constitution should be encouraged to join an alliance that will work together with the coalition.