One of the strongest points in the draft constitution is the introduction of accountability at all levels of Governance to ensure integrity and good governance.
That is why we hope that the church and perhaps with the help of the Oasis forum will now take ownership of the draft constitution and broker a settlement with the Government, which seems intent to derail the constitution making process.
We also hope that Political parties can also come together and join with civil society to present a united front for a new constitution that will create an environment in which democracy will flourish. This is not possible for as long as our current constitution reposes too much authority in the executive.
There is need for accountability at all levels. Without accountability the executive will operate without any regard to the other arms of governance and ultimately with total impunity.
Without accountability good governance, integrity and moral uprightness are not possible. Quite apart from ethics a country without accountability opens avenues of corruption, theft and graft.
It is common knowledge for example that rampant corruption is taking place in the award of contracts towards the much touted “massive” infrastructure programme which has included construction of roads, universities and other institutions.
Sadly these projects have raised major concern, as single sourcing has led to fears of massive corruption with the attendant problem of shoddy quality as contractors cut corners to raise enough money to pay the benefactors.
This point has been made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which in its recent report has stated and we quote” The recent ( PEFA) assessment found a deterioration in Zambia’s Public Financial Management (PFM) , including reporting and quality control. Procurement practices have also deteriorated, with single-source contracts for some large projects.”
It is our intention as a newspaper to follow up these single sourced projects and determine the circumstances under which they were awarded.
The one definite fact about the current regime is that moral authority has been singularly lacking with the result that criminals have ascended to very sensitive seats of governance thereby distorting the values that a normal country would be guided by. Hence a Minister under Tribunal probe remains in office in spite of serious allegations of impropriety including an attempt to influence the Supreme Court over political matters.
That is why it is important that Zambians should support the current draft constitution which will make all offices accountable. The institution of the Constitutional Court means that such corrupt activities as orchestrated by elections will be a thing of the past.
More importantly even the President will then become accountable.
Indeed before the elections President Sata promised a new constitution within 90 days in order to ensure that the vast powers of the President were subjected to some control. He was convinced that the Zambian President had too many powers and that absolute power corrupted absolutely.