The Grand Coalition on the constitution-making process in Eastern Province is set to sign socially-biding contracts with leaders of various political parties that will participate in the Presidential election set for January 20, 2015.
The Coalition chairperson in Eastern province Maxson Nkhoma said the political parties had no option but to sign the contracts and commit that the Constitution would be adopted through a referendum and allow Zambians to go for the 2016 tripartite elections under a new Constitution.
Mr Nkhoma said the people of Zambia would no longer accept lip service promises of enacting a new Constitution without putting in place mechanisms which would be used to hold political parties accountable on their promises.
He said the signing of socially binding contracts would contain basic minimum conditions of enacting a new Constitution before December 2016 through a referendum.
“The political party which will win the 2015 presidential elections will need to give the people of Zambia a new Constitution without fail and will have to abide by the terms and conditions set in the social contract. If they do not, they risk being voted out of office in 2016.
“The Coalition will during the presidential campaigns, through its members and structures in various districts and constituencies of the country also sign the social contracts with members of Parliament in their constituencies to commit themselves into ensuring that the new constitution is enacted by 2016,” he said.
Mr Nkhoma regret that the country had to spend more than K 354 million to hold a presidential election after the death of the sitting President, Michael Sata, a situation which could have been avoided had the Patriotic Front Government delivered and enacted a new Constitution which could have provided for a running mate.
He said the funds that Government would spend through the Electoral Commission of Zambia to hold the presidential elections next year could have been used to pay farmers who supplied maize to the Food Reserve Agency.
Mr Nkhoma said the Coalition therefore would take this transition period in Government as an opportunity to push and influence political parties vying for the Presidency to enact a new Constitution without further delay.
He said the current Constitution had failed to address the many challenges the people of Zambia were going through and was the cause of high poverty levels among the people of Zambia.
“We note with sadness that many farmers who supplied maize to FRA have remained unpaid for a longer period of time but a lot of resources are now being channeled to holding of the presidential election as opposed to addressing the needs of the poor.
“We would also like to appeal to the people of Zambia to ensure that political parties are forced to make the constitution-making process a campaign issue.’’
and a number one priority once they are elected to office,” Mr Nkhoma said.