Oasis Forum, Kabimba differ

Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba yesterday rubbished demands by the Oasis Forum for the immediate release of the draft constitution and its onward enactment through the national referendum.

Mr Kabimba who met the Oasis Forum  with only selected media houses to cover the event is said to have told the Oasis Forum that the new constitution would not solve all the economic and social challenges Zambia were facing.

Mr Kabimba did not warn the members of the Oasis Forum that he had invited selected media houses to cover the event and when the members complained, he insisted that they remained.

Sources revealed that Mr Kabimba could not give any definite answer to the many questions the Oasis Forum officials were asking and instead talked down on them as if they did not know what they were talking about.

The source said Mr Kabimba was not even ready to listen to the suggestions by the Oasis Forum officials and instead lectured them against championing the demands of the Grand Coalition on the Constitution which has over the months been conducting ecumenical prayer meetings on the release of the draft constitution.

The Daily Nation has been informed that Mr Kabimba refused to commit himself to the time frame or when the document was scheduled to be tabled before cabinet for discussion before it could be released to the general public.

The source said members of the Oasis Forum demanded that Mr Kabimba should provide definite and clear time frame for the release of the draft constitution and its subsequent enactment but the demand was met with the usual subtle derogatory resistance from the Minister.

But Mr Kabimba told the Oasis Forum that he would at an appropriate time take the document to cabinet but coulod not state how soon that would happen.

The source said Mr Kabimba who is the Patriotic Front (PF) secretary general adopted the attitude of ‘I  know it all’ when he was told by the Oasis Forum that government should stop giving the lack of money as an excuse for failing to honour its promise of delivering a people-driven constitution within 90 days of forming government.

The source explained that the Oasis Forum was against the extension of the debate of selected clauses that government was against being included in the new constitution.

They said the members of the Oasis Forum told the Minister that there had already been enough debate on the draft constitution and that Zambians were only looking forward to the enactment of the new constitution through a referendum.

The oasis forum is said to have been disappointed that no progress had been made on the way forward in the constitution making process  and that it was likely that they would soon be issuing a strong statment about the meeting.

“Yes the Minister met with the Oasis Forum today and it would appear you were deliberately left out to cover the meeting. The Oasis Forum wanted to know the way forward after the impasse and as you know, government has its own stand about this,” the source said.