It is dishonesty for the Patriotic Front government to continue hoodwinking poor Zambians with social amenities as an alternative to delivering the much anticipated new Republican Constitution, says Zambian Voice Executive Director Chilufya Tayali.
He has said that it is wrong for the PF to continue to claim that people prefer food, fertilizer, roads, medicines, education and other social services at the expense of a new Constitution.
Mr Tayali said those in government had a responsibility to deliver development as well as a new constitution without lying to citizens that they cannot have both.
“We would also like to warn the PF that they should not take advantage of the ignorance of the poor people, especially those in rural areas to advance their ulterior motive not to deliver a people driven Constitution,” he said.
Mr Tayali charged that the PF promised the people of Zambia a new constitution in 90 days, which has failed to materialize 1,022 days after the 2011 presidential pronouncements for a new constitution.
He said while the infrastructure development was a positive objective for any government, the PF should not offer any excuse for the delays the release and enactment of a new constitution.
“The excuse of resources does not really hold water because government is ready and quick to spend huge sums of money on anything that is of their interest to consolidate their power. But they do not want to give power to the people through the Constitution,” he said.
And Mr Tayali said the current law disadvantages some people from pursuing political ambitions which some known politicians want to use against any purported opponents.
He said even laws like the Public Order Act, publication of false news, the parental clause in Presidential candidature qualification, have become the favorites for the PF government officials.
“Zambian Voice has therefore decided to fight all bad laws which are in conflict with the freedoms of citizens and democratic tenets. This week we will seek a judicial review with an objective of scraping off the constitutional provisions of the controversial parentage amendments of 1996 article 34(3) b which stipulates that both parents should be Zambians by birth or descent to qualify to contest for Presidency,” Mr Tayali said.
He charged that the clause should be removed from the Republican Constitution with regards to the ruling that was made in the case of Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika and others Vs FTJ Chiluba, so that no one could refer to it in discriminating others.
And on the controversy surrounding President Michael Sata’s health status, Mr Tayali wondered why it was getting close to a month without the Head of State making a physical appearance.
“For some time now, our President has been seldom in the public view and the last time we saw him, he did not look healthy in spite of his age.
The recent strange character of the President, of not being among people, physical ineptness and his recent disappearance clearly shows that our President is not fine,” he said.
Mr Tayali said even the questions about his Israel trip, his going to hospital there, his physical appearance and sudden blackout from pubic-eye was a matter of concern among Zambians.
“Our president cannot stay away from his people deliberately without an explanation. Our President must definitely be sick and government is hiding this fact,” he said.
Mr Tayali has since urged Zambians to voice out their concerns about the constitution, and the daily operations of government because “we are the ones that put them in power. They are nothing but our servants who should listen to us and if they don’t, let’s not mince our words and actions to kick them out”.