No social contract, no vote-Grand Coalition

All presidential candidates in next month’s elections will be asked to sign social contracts with the Grand Coalition on the Constitution for a people-driven Constitution after the nomination day, says coalition spokesperson MacDonald Chipenzi.

He said all the presidential contenders were expected to append their signatures to the social contracts which would compel them to immediately embark on the enactment of the new Constitution if voted into office.

The official nomination dates have been set from 17th December to 23 December when the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) is expected to receive nomination papers from presidential candidates participating in the 2015 January elections.

“The nominations will dictate which candidates are running in the forthcoming presidential election especially for the Patriotic Front (PF) and the MMD which are yet to decide on their candidates,” Mr Chipenzi said.

Mr Chipenzi explained that other candidates from the UPND, Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) and National Restoration Party (NAREP) have already signed the social contract with the coalition adding, the parties embroiled in candidature wrangles were expected to do so immediately after the ECZ nominations.

He said the Grand Coalition was interested in the enactment of the new Constitution which had eluded the people of Zambia due to lack of political will by successive governments.

He said there was need for participating political parties to sign the contracts as a way of committing themselves to enacting a new Constitution before the 2016 general elections.

“We are encouraging all the candidates to participate. Our primary goal is to have a new Constitution, that will help guide the operationalization of the other pieces of legislation like the review of the Public Order Act (POA), to repeal the NGO Act of 2009 and enactment of the Access to Information Bill among others,” he said.

He however said both the MMD presidential candidate Rupiah Banda and Edgar Lungu of PF had expressed interest in signing the social contracts but had not done because of the power struggles in the parties.

And the Zambia Direct Democracy Movement (ZDDM) has called on all political parties to support the civil society in their efforts to have a social contract with Zambians through the Grand Coalition on the Constitution.

ZDDM vice president Charles Kafumbo said Zambians wanted to adopt the new supreme law through a referendum within six months.  “We call on the grand coalition to hold a joint meeting with all aspiring presidential candidates where such social contracts should be signed to compel candidates to honour such an obligation once they formed government on 2015,” he said.

Eleven political parties have so far showed interest in taking part in the January 20, 2015 presidential election caused by the death of President Michael Sata on 28 October in London after an illness.