‘Final draft Constitution to be released’

DEFENCE and Justice Minister Edgar Lungu has confirmed that government will release the long awaited draft constitution before or during the country’s Golden Jubilee celebrations.

But MMD president Nevers Mumba says the Patriotic Front government may not keep its word to release the final draft constitution to the people of Zambia this week.

Dr Mumba said Zambians had no reason to further trust the PF administration after it had told lies on many critical issues on several occasions.

He said the constitution making process under the PF was a frustrating and failed project on which huge sums of money had been spent.

But Mr Lungu told the Sunday Nation in an interview in Mongu yesterday that the constitution making process was a national issue and that no individual or civil society organization should claim exclusive ownership to the process.

Mr Lungu said it was the intention of government to release the draft constitution that had caused tension and acrimony between government and stakeholders so that Zambians could study and debate the contents.

He said the draft constitution was currently under the process of printing and that as soon as the printers were done with the job, it was the intention of government to ensure it was released to the general public before or during the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

He said he would soon issue a ministerial statement in Parliament to announce the tentative date when the draft constitution would be released to the general public.

And Mr Lungu said opposition political parties planning to shun the Jubilee celebrations should peacefully stay away without causing confusion in the country.

“We are One Zambia One Nation and under Dr Kenneth Kaunda, we had 27 years. Dr Frederick Chiluba, may his soul rest in peace, his MMD ruled for 20 years and the PF under President Michael Sata has only ruled for three years and this makes it 50 years.  It is therefore not correct that there is nothing to celebrate.

There has been a lot of improvement in the living standards of the people in the last fifty years. So those who are planning to boycott the Golden Jubilee, let them peacefully stay away,” Mr Lungu said.

Meanwhile, Mr Lungu says calme has returned to the PF that has in the recent past been engulfed in violence.

Mr Lungu is in Mongu to check on the security situation following reports that the Barotse Royal Establishment had overthrown a Mbunda chief in Limulunga. He said government respected traditional values and that was why he was in Mongu to confer with the Litunga, the Lozi King over the security situation in the region.