Chiefs must explain how they managed to get hold of the much anticipated draft constitution when it was not yet in the public domain, Young African Leaders Initiative president Andrew Ntewewe has said.
Ntewewe said even the Republican President Michael Sata has denied receiving the draft constitution.
Ntewewe said the traditional rulers should explain to the nation how they could begin to discuss a document that had not been submitted to public scrutiny.
“Which system are the chiefs using to see the final draft before it is actually submitted or released? We cannot comment on the article on land in the draft copy which we have not yet seen,” he said.
And YALI president has condemned the criminalizing of the demands for a new constitution by the PF government.
Ntewewe said President Sata has started to criminalise demands for a constitution when in fact he was the one who came up with the idea of the new law in the first place.
“It is like they directed the police to arrest anybody demanding for the release of a new constitution, which is why those students were arrested during the Youth Day celebrations.
But no amount of harassment or intimidation nor any dillydallying will deter the demands for a new constitution. In fact, the struggle will continue until we receive the draft,” he said.
He explained that the students’ movements are determined now more than ever to push for the release of the draft copy to pave way for a referendum as a mode of adopting the draft.
“In his first address to Parliament, President Sata promised the Zambian people a new constitution.
On 14 October 2011 addressing Parliament he said
‘Mr Speaker Sir, the PF government attaches great importance to good governance. We are committed to delivering a people driven constitution within 90 says. To this effect we are in the process of consulting stakeholders with a view of establishing a committee of experts to review the recommendations of all previous Constitution Review Commissions in order to come up with a people’s draft constitution. The draft constitution will be subjected to a referendum and presented to Parliament for adoption’
He doesn’t say it will be an amendment, or that it will be animal driven, but a people driven constitution for the people of Zambia,” he said.
He said various stakeholders that included the Church, civil society and the general public should devise other strategies to force government to deliver the constitution
“The students’ movement in the country is determined to go on mass demonstrations to demand for the new constitution, and the civil society together with the Church and other stakeholders are strategising on the plan of action to claim for a constitution whether President Sata likes it or not,” Ntewewe said.On Tuesday, before Parliament adjourned, 69 PF MPs voted against a motion to compel government to provide a clear roadmap for the current constitution making process against 42 yes votes from the opposition.