The final draft constitution was deliberately leaked to the online media by the Patriotic Front (PF) government to sabotage the constitution making process because the government did not agree with parts of the popular but contentious clauses.
Douglas Syakalima, the UPND official has said Zambians suspected the Ministry of Justice could have leaked the document because it had kept the soft copy of both the draft constitution and the report stating that senior government officials had been strongly against the 50+1 percent and the presidential running mate clauses and therefore leaked it to sabotage the process. Yesterday, the technical committee complained that it had been frustrated over its attempts to officially handover the ten copies to President Michael Sata because the executive had been reluctant to receive the document although government had been keeping the soft copy of both the Draft Constitution and the Report of the technical committee at the Ministry of Justice.
Syakalima said the document contained most controversial but popular submissions which government had strongly opposed and did not know how to defeat popular demands if the draft was formerly and simultaneously presented to President Michael Sata and the general public.
“We can only suspect Wynter Kabimba and his colleagues at the Ministry of Justice as culprits who could have leaked the draft constitution to the Watchdog (an online publication) because his government did not want the new constitution. Kabimba has been mischievous over the popular clauses and he has commented on the 50+1 and presidential running mate. The only person answerable is Kabimba and not the technical committee. So Kabimba must be investigated for sabotaging the constitution making process,” Syakalima said.
Government has reacted angrily to the revelation by the technical committee that the soft copy of both the draft constitution and the report were kept at the Ministry of Justice charging that there was a clear and open show of disrespect by some members of the Technical Committee to national leaders alleging that there was a concerted effort to pursue partisan and sectoral interest in the current process.
In a statement by the Technical Committee spokesperson Ernest Mwansa has also revealed that the government was totally reluctant to receive the 10 copies of the draft constitution which they requested contrary to the terms of reference.
“It is, therefore, unfortunate that an impression has been created that the Technical Committee has refused to hand-over the documents to Government. We, as government appointees, cannot refuse to hand-over the documents to the appointing authority. The Terms of Reference given to the Technical Committee mandated the Committee to hand the documents to the Referendum Commission and not directly to Government,” he stated.
Mwansa however said that given the fact that the Referendum Commission was not in place his Committee proposed in its Programme of Work to hand the documents simultaneously to the President and to the general public. He further said the committee did not respond to allegations about the matter because it was getting conflicting signals from government as the information minister confirmed that government was studying the documents and would make its position know to the public while his labour counterpart told the nation the government was still waiting for the documents.
“Indeed the soft copy of both the Draft Constitution and the Report of the Technical Committee are kept at the Ministry of Justice for security reasons. We implore His Honour the Vice President not to insinuate that it is the Technical Committee which has leaked the document as that is prejudicial to an independent investigation. His Honour the Vice President cannot be the judge, jury and executioner at the same time – that is extremely unjust,” Mwansa said.