The grand coalition of Civil Society Organizations, political parties, the church and student movements has charged that the Patriotic Front has failed Zambians on the constitution and has embarked on a countrywide mobilization of citizens to demand the immediate release of the second and final draft of the constitution.
The Grand Coalition on the Constitution has demanded that President Michael Sata, his Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba and Information and Broadcasting Minister Mwansa Kapeya should explain to Zambians why they had abducted the final draft of the constitution from the technical committee which had the mandate to present the document simultaneously to the executive and the general public.
In a terse statement delivered by Grand Coalition spokesperson Pamela Chisanga, who is Action Aid country director, the Coalition has challenged government to name and shame organisations and individuals being funded by opposition political parties to champion the cause of the release of the draft constitution.
Chisanga said it was worthless and illusionary for government to mislead citizens that President Sata and Kabimba who is the Patriotic Front (PF) secretary general had kept the draft constitution had been kept away from Zambians so that it was not hijacked by selfish individuals.
Chisanga said it was a notorious fact that it was President Sata and his Justice Minister had kidnapped and hijacked the constitution making process because they had lied about delivering a people driven constitution within 90 days.
She said the Grand Coalition which is a composition of CSOs, student movements, activists and other stakeholders was sounding a bell of discontent in the constitution making process stating that it was strange that a government that promised a new constitution within 90 days did not find anything wrong to fail to conclude the process even after two years.
Chisanga said the Grand Coalition was demanding that Kabimba should immediately provide a roadmap for the finalization of the constitution which should include the holding of a referendum as a means of adopting the new constitution.
She said it was unacceptable, and immoral for the PF government to continue distressing citizens with lies on the constitution adding that the coalition would not be swayed by slanderous untruths from government that CSOs were being bankrolled by some opposition political parties.
Chisanga however said that while CSOs did not see anything wrong with political parties funding organisations championing the good and common cause for Zambians such as the new constitution, it was politically incorrect for government to lie that the orgainisations had received money from politicians.
“The statement by Kapeya suggesting that some leaders of the CSOs have been paid by opposition political party leaders is intended to undermine the intelligence of the Zambian people genuinely demanding the constitution which the PF had converted into a party document. We are asking the PF leadership to stop manufacturing lies and immediately concede to the emblematic fact that this document is much safer in the hands of all Zambians. We have embarked on a national programme to mobilise citizens to demand the release of the final draft constitution,” Chisanga said.
MMD director of communications in the office of the president said it was President Sata, his Justice Minister Kabimba and Kapeya who were dubious because they had abducted the draft constitution and hijacked the constitution making process.
UPND secretary general Winstone Chibwe said Zambia has suffered several abortions over the constitution making process and that the people were not ready for another failed process being planned by the PF government.
FODEP executive director MacDonald Chipenzi said if government was going to embark on arresting CSOs leaders over the constitution, they would be glad to continue preaching the constitution in jail.
Other political parties that attended the briefing at Golden Bridge were People’s Party leader Mike Mulongoti and Langton Sichone of ZADECO as well as political activist Dante Saunders.