ALTHOUGH the release of the final draft Constitution will not bring about much change in Zambians’ quest to have new laws, it will however give citizens an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the provisions of the document they have spent so much public resources on but which has largely remained under lock and key.
According to the Grand Coalition on the constitution making-process, which has been having meetings with Minister of Justice, Edgar Lungu, Government is set to release the draft Constitution next week.
With the release of the draft final Constitution, it will at least bring to closure speculation on the content and open debate on the best laws that Zambians want for themselves.
This is the process which should be made interesting as the exchange of ideas is more productive than debating myths.
Therefore, the decision to release the draft Constitution should be non-controversial and we do not expect Government to backtrack on its plans.
Acting contrary to this promise will simply raise unnecessary tension among Zambians who have been waiting for months on end to see the document they contributed to in their desire to have new laws of the country.
Government should also be mindful that the quest for Zambians to have good laws has not started now.
Zambians have been through several tedious processes in an event to have new laws that are formidable and can endure into posterity.
Since the 1970s, there have been five commissions appointed to come up with new laws of the country but without sustainable impact.
The complaints of a Constitution which does not meet the aspirations of the people have remained persistent every after successful constitution commissions.
In fact, all the Presidents that have ever ruled Zambia have attempted alter the Constitution but with varied conclusions at great cost to the tax payers.
From Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Dr Fredrick Chiluba, Dr Levy Mwanawasa, Rupiah Banda to the current President, Michael Sata, the Constitution-making process has been an expensive undertaking.
We hope the release of the draft and the subsequent debates will result in Zambians moving forward in achieving constitutional consensus.
Achieving consensus is important as that is what will trigger the next course of action in the Constitution-making process.
But as observed above, the release of the final draft Constitution will not guarantee speed in enacting a new Constitution.
At the moment, there is no constitutional road map while resources in the national Budget for next year appear inadequate to undertake a major constitutional change.