IT is not practical for the country to have a new Constitution before the 2016 general elections because the process would need the conducting of the national census and voter registration which would not be achieved in one and half years, Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) has observed.
YALI president Andrew Ntewewe said presidential candidates canvassing for votes were aggressively using the enactment of the new Constitution as a campaign tool to win the presidential election next month but were not telling Zambians how they would be able to deliver the new Constitution before 2016 general elections.
Mr Ntewewe told the Sunday Nation yesterday that while it was encouraging that all presidential candidates were promising to deliver a people-driven Constitution before 2016, YALI was of the view that it was not practical for any new government to honour the promise in such a short transitional time.
Mr Ntewewe said it was saddening that no presidential candidate had offered a master plan of how the new Constitution would be enacted apart from parroting what the electorate wanted to hear.
“It is the view of YALI that it is not practical for any new government to enact a people-driven Constitution before the 2016 general elections. We know it is election time and all the presidential candidates are promising a new Constitution if elected but we are skeptical because the process will require the registration of voters and a national census and this we feel will not be completed before 2016 general elections. It is utopia and wishful thinking that we are going to have a new Constitution if we have a new Government because none of the candidates has given a plan of how this can be possible,” he said.
Mr Ntewewe said since the draft has already been released, what Zambians needed was consensus on the contentious clauses adding that it would be cheaper and convenient to subject the document to Parliament for enactment.
He said when YALI proposed a master plan of how the new Constitution could be enacted, political parties and civil society organisations rose against its leaders and verbally abused him, adding it was not enough for presidential candidates to declare that the new Constitution would be ready before 2016.
And Mr Ntewewe said the social contracts political parties were signing with some civil society groups would never compel whoever would be elected president next month to implement what they have promised the people.
He said social contracts were not legally binding and therefore could be used to hold leaders accountable if they failed to honour their pledges.