TIZ tells off ‘discourteous’ Scott

It is regrettable and unacceptable for Vice-president Guy Scott to carelessly malign and demean the men and women who patriotically served on the Technical Committee on draft the constitution, says Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) president Lee Habasonda.

Mr Habasonda said Dr Scott’s remarks on the Technical Committee nothing but defamatory.

“It is not the first time that Dr. Scott has made such defamatory remarks and we wish to remind him, in case he has forgotten, that he does not enjoy any immunity from legal action,” Mr Habasonda said.

Dr Scott is accused of labeling the Technical Committee as a bunch of losers and retirees whose pre-occupation was to fight the Patriotic Front (PF) government.

Mr Habasonda said it would be unfortunate if any former Technical Committee members decided to sue him for defamation.

He observed that the current constitution review process clearly lacked leadership and the conduct and careless utterances of the Vice President and other Cabinet Ministers was a clear demonstration of poor leadership.

“It is a pity that President Sata has insulated himself from this ensuing debate instead of stepping in and providing direction to the nation,

“Indeed it is ironical that a government that is calling for consensus and unity on the constitution, is nonetheless actively involved in casting aspersions on the technical committee, whose only grave omission, it would seem is the fact that they refused to pander to political whims and elected to be independent and professional by crafting a document that truly reflects the aspirations of the people,” Mr Habasonda explained.

He said it was slowly becoming evident that the PF government and its agents had adopted a strategy of maligning the Technical Committee.

Mr Habasonda said what government was going had the potential of bringing doubt to the minds of Zambians on the suitability and appropriateness of the draft constitution prepared by the Technical Committee.

He said TIZ had noted with great concern the general retrogressive direction that the constitution reforms have taken.

“What started off as a promising process is slowly being reduced to nothing by a farce of senior PF government officials,” Mr Habasonda said.

He said it was imprudent that government leaders seemed to have placed eminent value in launching personal attacks on the Technical Committee that assembled conspicuously by the same government which gave it unequivocal mandate to craft a constitution that reflected the will of the people after taking into consideration the many proposals that Zambians consistently made to previous Constitution Review Commissions.

Mr Habasonda urged the government to focus its energies on preparing for the referendum adding that the continued inconsistent statements from government leaders on the constitution making process were not helpful.

“If anything, these statements simply reinforce the apprehensions of many Zambians that the PF government is not willing to deliver a credible constitution and is more concerned about retaining power as opposed to developing a sustainable constitutional order which will help this country in its socio-economic and political advancement,” he said.