THE 50 percent plus 1 clause is a democratic and progressive piece of law and President Edgar Lungu should not be forced to take back the Constitution Amendment Bill so that it can be tabled back into Parliament, the United Party for National Development (UPND) has said.
The UPND has lashed at other opposition political parties for crying foul over the passing of the new Constitution Amendment Bill of 2015 which dictates that presidential candidates should be able to organize 100 supporters from each of the ten Provinces.
UPND presidential spokesperson for special duties Edward Mumbi said People’s Party President Mike Mulongoti and other opposition leaders should not mislead President Lungu to take back the Bill to Parliament so that it could be re-tabled.
Mr Mumbi said the UPND was ready to go to the general elections next year with the 50 percent plus 1 and the presidential running mate and was in support of the requirement that presidential candidates should be able to have 1000 supporters drawn from the ten Provinces.
Mr Mumbi said he had always taken Mr Mulongoti as an astute politician who could read the political mood of the country but was disappointed to realize that the People’s Party leader had exhibited political naivety by branding the Constitution Amendment Bill that has just been passed by Parliament as dictatorial and non-representative.
He said Mr Mulongoti even rubbished the Grand Coalition concerns over the constitution-making process and should therefore not condemn the members of Parliament for amending the Constitution of Zambia.
He explained that the UPND was not in support of the call by some opposition political parties to ask President Lungu to consider taking back the document to Parliament because that would not only be a waste of time but resources as well.
“The 50 percent plus 1 clause is a progressive and democratic piece of law and it is wrong for some opposition political parties to ask President Lungu to consider taking back the document to Parliament to be re-tabled. Our concern as the UPND is the manner the amendment was done but we have no problem with the 50 percent plus 1 clause. Mr Mulongoti and other leaders of the opposition political parties should not cry foul because they had a chance to read the document before it went to Parliament. The Constitution has been amended for Zambians and an impression should not be created that it is the PF that is writing the Constitution for a particular group of people or political parties,” Mr Mumbi said.
Mr Mumbi said the referendum would have been the best process of enacting the Constitution but there was no need for political leaders to continue opposing the phased enactment of the new Constitution because the Bill had already been passed.
He advised that all political parties that supported the phased process of enacting the Constitution when other major stakeholders strongly objected should first apologise to Zambians before asking President Lungu to take the document back to Parliament.