Constitution Mirage

It must have dawned on all political parties and civil society that a new constitution is neither physical, practical nor expedient in the reckoning of Patriotic Front Secretary General Wynter Kabimba.

He has decided and its about time that the rest of the Patriotic Front and indeed other interested parties understood that any attempt to process the constitution through government is an exercise in futility and a waste of effort.

Wynter has no intention of realistically engaging both parties i.e. the executive and civil society into any meaningful dialogue that will produce a constitution encapsulating a compromise from all the parties concerned.

Given the right will and political motivation this should have been the easiest of tasks because a lot of groundwork has already been canvassed documented and catalogued by previous constitutional review exercises.

It was the simplest of tasks for the Minister of Justice to convince his colleagues in cabinet on the way forward on the basis of which the Church, civil society and indeed general populace would have been engaged to arrive at a consensus towards crafting a new constitution that would have stood the test of time.

As of now we have nothing to show for the tremendous effort and expense all because of the impunity that is inbuilt within our current constitution that reposes too much power in the Executive to the extent that patent abuses of power can be condoned without retribution, censure and indeed punishment.

In this particular case the minister should have been held accountable by his own party which he has brought into disrepute by reneging on a substantive electoral promise that brought the party into power.

Many civic institutions supported the PF because it made the right noises including the enactment of a new comprehensive, robust and all encompassing constitution that would not only provide a legal framework but also provides an environment that promoted good governance, accountability and above all adherence to the social contract of delivering to the people of Zambia a governance system that would reflect the general inspiration, aspiration and wishes of the people.

It is regrettable that almost half way through the tenure of the PF rule, Zambians are learning the character of those that assumed power on the wings of leadership that rang resolute and determined and yet have now proved hollow and at worst a mirage.

The moral of the story is that Zambians should never again be tempted to accept cheap political policies that have no basis in fact and in truth. Zambians should have known that 90 days was too short a period to create jobs, provide more money in the pockets and indeed craft a new constitution.  They should have also known the irrelevance of lower taxes because these do not apply to more than 99.9 percent of the population which is outside the taxpaying bracket.

In short the future demands of Zambians to more diligent to demand accountability and above all character references of those who aspire for power.  Not all those who promise to deliver have the capacity, inclination nor will to yield and answer to public demand.

The next 2 years before 2016 elections should provide a period of serious engagement to ensure that the government that emerges beyond 2016 can be held to account more specifically to crafting a new constitution.

That is why we remain committed to the principle of a collective opposition that puts in place an environment for the enactment of a new constitution before we resume to normal adversarial politics,

Zambia needs a respite to think through long term multi partyism interests to secure a future for a democracy that luxuriates in diversity.