Polemical Grand Coalition

Having stampeded the country into the enactment of a Constitution that has left a sizeable proportion of the population incredulous, it is amazing that the Grand Coalition continues to claim sanctimonious righteousness in the exercise to the extent of attacking Government for amending some contentious clauses.

What is actually emerging now is that many political, civic, traditional and social actors have serious misgivings with the constitution.

The chiefs for example have complained of exclusion in the process and inclusion of clauses that take away their authority over traditional affairs including land.

Paramount Chief Chitimukulu has been particularly vocal in expressing the frustration the chiefs feel about the Constitution.

Yesterday, Heritage Party president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda revealed a 10-point petition to the President requesting in short that the Constitution should not be assented to because it contains clauses that are inimical or totally unfavourable to the democratic dispensation that Zambia has embarked upon.  And yet this is a Constitution that the Grand Coalition has been pushing for its total approval by a stand-alone referendum.

These developments prove the point that a lot more work needed to be done in order to achieve consensus among all ordinary interest groups rather than pursuing a totally headstrong approach towards a seemingly immutable position.

Sadly this is the nature of our politics in Zambia.

A few individuals without any constituency whatsoever will champion and sometimes overwhelm the nation with seemingly political positions or campaigns that ultimately prove fastidious and a product of selfish financial interest.

This constitutional making process is a salutary lesson demanding patience in the manner we conduct public affairs that all sides must be heard before a final decision is taken.

It is fortunate to a large extent that the Constitution has been passed by Parliament which is made up of representatives of the Zambian people elected to the House to champion their interests.  This is in sharp contrast to the Coalition that has literally no constituency apart from self appointed individuals or in many cases groups representing very narrow partisan interests.

This situation makes it very difficult for the President not to assent to the Constitution as doing so would be going against the will of the people’s representatives and in many respects against the wishes of the people.

The moral of the story is that in the future Zambians should be more discerning and avoid populist campaigns that lead the nation into a moral, political or indeed economic cul-de-sac.

Polemical stances are the bane of compromise, dialogue, goodwill and rational decision making.  The Grand