You can always trust Vice President Guy Scott to say the truth however uncomfortable.
When everyone else in Government distanced themselves from the leaked draft constitution, he was the first person in Government to acknowledge that the document leaked to the public was the real thing.
However typical of a politician he was quick to apportion blame for the leakage on the Technical Committee, warning that Government would flu investigate the leakage which, he suggested, emanated from the committee.
The committee has now spoken.
It is clear that Government and more specifically the Ministry of Justice, superintended by the Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba has always had a soft copy of both the report and draft constitution.
It was therefore not true as claimed by State House spokesman George Chella that Government did not have any knowledge of the constitution. They Government had a copy in its possession.
More interestingly committee spokesman Ernest Mwansa has revealed that attempts by the committee to hand over the 10 copies requested by the appointing authority, who is the Republican President were rebuffed.
Miraculously the report was leaked and the indignant Minister of Justice in tandem with the entire Government machinery cried foul, with the ultimate intention of repudiating the entire exercise.
Somebody had every reason to leak the report and draft constitution as prepared by the Technical Committee. It cannot be a very good reason.
The only logical explanation is the one advanced by Douglas Syakalima who attributes the caper as an attempt to sully the waters and therefore justify an indignant standoff with fingers pointed at the technical committee.
The new information coming out of the committee paints a very disconcerting picture which raises very serious issues of integrity.
Why was the Government unwilling to receive the report?
Is it because they did not want to receive the report because of the contents which, as have been revealed, contain articles which the Vice President and the Minister of Justice have spoken against?
Is the leak a cynical way of frustrating the entire process?
Whatever the case, we expect that Government will respect the admonition from Catholic Bishops who have called for a clear and decisive way forward in the constitution making process.
They have said that it is imperative that the Government should take the necessary steps towards enacting a new constitution which the people of Zambia wanted.
They have rejected the way of the Inquiries Act, where the President and his cabinet sat to “cherry-pick what they think should be in the constitution.”
The Bishop concluded: “We have been down this route before where respective ruling parties have desired that the constitution be made in their party’s image and likeness. This has always not worked and it will not work even now.”
The Bishops have declared that the people of Zambia were demanding nothing less than a constitution given to themselves by themselves.
In this regard they have stated that “The final draft Constitution prepared by the Justice Silungwe technical committee should without further delay be released to the public and other stakeholders, consistent with the roadmap announced by the Constitution Technical Committee at the commencement of its mandate.”
The people have spoken many times over the years and even now; they want the constitution adopted through a referendum, Vox Populi, Vox dei,-the voice of the people is the voice of God. We reject the excuse of expenses given the fact that the country has lost huge amounts of money in the botched processes of the past. Now we have a chance to resolve this long standing constitution issue in a more sustainable way. This chance should not be allowed to yet again pass.”