I cannot agree more with the contents published in the Comic Book ‘‘Understanding the 2016 Referendum’’ produced by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).
I request on behalf of Zambians aged 18 and above to read the book to avoid being misled by the UPND presidential candidate who has called on Zambians to shun the referendum because, according to him, it will be a waste of time and resources (“Hichilema calls for Referendum boycott” – Daily Nation, July 19, 2016).
According to the ECZ-produced Comic Book, the Bill of Rights is a set of legal guarantees that is set out within the Constitution to protect fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals.
And a referendum is a way in which citizens directly vote to accept or reject a national issue by voting either ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ to the referendum question.
Can the UPND leader tell the nation why the Bill of Rights is not important when it protects and guarantees human rights?
Can he also explain to his UPND supporters what human rights are? Can we add to these, civil and political rights What about the economic, social, cultural and environmental rights?
If he’s unable to provide plausible responses to the foregoing questions, then he should not be surprised with the outcome of the August 11 polls when he gets a ‘NO’ vote instead of a 50% plus one vote as a presidential candidate.
While we are at it, let the UPND supporters ask their presidential candidate what he understands about special rights, enforcement of the Bill of Rights, repeal and replacement of Article 79.
Perhaps, he’s overlooked the importance of the Bill of Rights and referendum as someone vying to be Zambia’s next president who shall, each year, when addressing the National Assembly report on the measures taken by the State in the realization of the Bill of Rights.
So if Mr Hichilema continues to unwittingly preach that the referendum will be a waste of time and resources then he does not deserve any vote from any human rights-thinking Zambian aged 18 and above who values the Great Bill of Rights.