LETTERS

The 50%+1 threshold lacuna

Dear Editor, I was shocked to read about UPND Monze Central MP Jack Mwiimbu, who strongly opposed the motion for wide ranging amendments to the new Constitution to remedy lacunas, describing it as a fraud, frivolous and a scheme. Chief amongst the major lacunas is to do with the 50%+1 threshold (“Parley approves new Constitution amendments”, Daily Nation, November 10, 2016). How on earth did the UPND Members of Parliament let such a lacuna escape their scrutiny which has now become an albatross around the necks of their 2016 polls’ under-age first-time voters of Southern province? And the first-time voters are wondering why the UPND losing candidate-for-life has not made any progress so far? Was it by accident or by design? Read on. The 50%+1 threshold lacuna enshrined in the new Constitution remains one of the most unfortunate things to ever happen to Zambia’s supreme law. Let’s begin with the historical context that produced it ranging from the National Constitution Conference (NCC) to the Technical Committee appointed by the late president Michael Sata after winning the 2011 polls. First, PF never intended to participate in the constitution-making process through the NCC. While it’s a shame that the UPND Members of Parliament as expected, did a complete somersault when the Constitutional Amendment motion was presented in Parliament, they have a lot to answer and explain the lacunas therein to the people of Zambia because previously they even took part in the NCC set up by the MMD late President Levy Mwanawasa where they got huge sitting allowances but voted against the Constitutional Amendment Bill of 2011 presented by the ruling MMD then. A lot of issues need to be put into perspective to understand the UPND’s consistent insincerity when it comes to constitution-making process. Besides, they are fully aware of all the existing lacunas in the new Constitution and have the ability to take advantage of them when need arises. This is what formed the essence of the ambitious UPND under-age first-time voters’ mobilisation concept that smacked of child soldier warlord-type of recruiting tactics to boost the voting numbers and patterns in Southern Province in the August 11 general elections. Unfortunately, UPND was caught by the tide of anti-regionalism that erupted in the swing regions of Copperbelt and Lusaka provinces, thanks in part to the massive infrastructure development undertaken by the PF government. Consequently, after five days of patiently waiting for the 2016 presidential vote-tallying to be completed, PF candidate Edgar Lungu and his running mate Inonge Wina were declared Zambia’s President and Vice-President respectively by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). In constitutional parlance, the PF candidate’s win met the only main criterion of the new Constitution which requires the presidential winner to satisfy the threshold of 50%+1 of total votes cast. Needless to say, the lacuna precludes the 50 percent requirement of votes in at least half of the country’s 10 provinces. In the August 11 event, Edgar Lungu got 50.4 percent of the national tally and secured more than 50 percent in 7 of the 10 provinces. His main challenger, Hakainde Hichilema, on the other hand, clinched 47.6 percent of the total votes mainly in 3 out of 10 provinces, more especially in Southern Province with courtesy of under-age first-time voters.As expected, Hichilema refused to concede defeat, regardless, claiming that there had been electoral malpractices, and a week after the ECZ announced the official result, he filed an election petition in the Constitutional Court and the rest is history. It is equally known that the EU observer team that monitored the 2016 general elections recommended that a detailed review of the electoral legal framework and redrafting of any constitutional provisions that are unclear, ambiguous and conflicting need to be done immediately (“Re-draft Constitution, EU tells Zambia”, Daily Nation, November 11, 2016). That said by the EU observer team, it is unfortunate that UPND members of parliament are yet to muster the courage and sincerity to challenge the new Constitution and all its distasteful lacunas and contents therein.

Mubanga Luchembe, LUSAKA

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Tribal politics in Parliament

Dear Editor,

The tone of tribal politics in Parliament is most disheartening and sometimes infuriating. I also find the tone of debate by Garry Nkombo and lawyer Jack Mwiimbu most disturbing. It is as if they are the only ones who understand issues and are, therefore, allowed to pontificate on all manner of topics. The opposition, it would appear, have no regard for the President and will pass all manner of snide remarks whenever any mention of him is made. Worse still their refusal to accept him as President Smacks of a very deliberate tribal connotation which should not be allowed to pass without comment. The National Assembly by its very nature is a house that brings together the nation to transact business on behalf of all citizens regardless of their political or indeed tribal leaning. The tribe and their tribal attributes have no place in the house where discussion should centre on service delivery. The MPs should not forget that their debate is aired live on ZNBC and we hear all the insults and snide remarks made during debates and interruptions of debates. I entirely agree with the anti-tribal admonition the Speaker recently made. Let us guard our unity jealously because once lost it may never be recovered and those advocating from instability will be the first ones to suffer the pain of anarchy. Horace Kumwenda

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Clinton’s defeat

Dear Editor,

Democratic Party operatives are presenting the electoral defeat of Secretary Hilary Clinton that has given Donald Trump the presidency of United States of America as an expression of pervasive racism and sexism in the “white working class.” The post-election have closed in on the central issue leading to the defeat of democrat’s. The remarks of CNN commentator and former Obama aide Van Jones, who said of Trump’s victory: “This was a white-lash against a changing country” and “against a black president.” The collapse of Clinton and democrats paints a troubling image of the American society. The United States of America is composed of mostly immigrants that have settled there and have children over a long period of time. This is a country envied by the majority citizenry of the world and yet, it shows its ugly head in this election episode. It has unearthed dominancy of racial hostility and sexism, which stands above any other consideration and imagination. This triumph of Trump would glaringly put OBAMA legacy in a shame, more especially the Obamcare policy. Aubrey Kasonu Chindefu

– Lusaka

Categorized | Letters

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