Bold leadership required

We entirely agree with the Grand Coalition on the Constitution “That there is a strong linkage between good governance and social, economic and political prosperity and that the current ‘functional’ Constitution of Zambia is a fountain for bad governance. With bad governance comes lack of accountability and transparency. With the lack of accountability and transparency comes corruption, recklessness, arrogance, poverty, joblessness, price hikes and a general degradation in the well-being and freedom of a people”.

We however entirely disagree that the best way forward is to pressurize the Government into releasing the second draft hopefully with the intentions of enacting a new constitution before 2016. Nothing of the sort will happen.

There will be no constitution before 2016 and if by miracle a new constitution is enacted it will be a highly vandalized version of the technical committee proposal which will pass in Parliament where the PF is slowly building numbers.

The conflicting messages on the constitution only confirm our very worst fears that Government is not ready to give the people of Zambia a new constitution before the 2016 election.

The 2016 elections will be conducted under the current constitution which means that all the draconian laws will be in place and chances are that all the significant political leaders will not be eligible to stand because they may have been convicted for one offence or another.

Once in office in 2016 the new Government will have no motivation for changing the constitution. This is the bleak future we face.

That is why the disparate and competing efforts, on the on the constitution, by opposition and civil society organization do not inspire any confidence or hope for change. What is required is a cohesive and united approach that will benefit from the current impasse.

Once united in approach and purpose, civil society and political parties can make 2016 a fantastic prospect to look forward to rather that viewing it with trepidation.

What is lacking is leadership.

Presidents Hakainde, Mumba, Nawakwi and all others must realize that the Public Order Act will be applied even more viciously before election. They must appreciate that section 67 of the penal code will penalize any critical statements and indeed other oppressive laws will apply with even more ferociousness against any semblance of opposition and change.

Equally the Oasis Forum and the Grand Coalition must realize that we are dealing with a totally unresponsive executive that has no intention of opening democratic space, and yet the people of Zambia are ready for change.

Zambians want an expanded Bill of Rights, strong judiciary, impartial and profession security agencies and a governance system that will responsible to the law. These are attributes that have eluded Governance from the time of independence in 1964 when the constitution reposed so much power in the President.

We have said before and would want to repeat that the Constitution fiasco presents the country the best possible opportunity to deliver a second liberation.

All it requires is leadership and for a few politicians and civic organizations to make 2016 a watershed for our country. It must be a year in which partisan politics will take a back seat to allow for the tremendous transformation that will ensure a second liberation.

With a new constitution in place in 2017 normal political activity can resume, with the assurance that a strong framework exists that will protect all.


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