Finally even the draft constitution has disappeared, vanished without a trace.
It is lost in the maze of the Ministry of Justice. At least under the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) the Mungomba draft reached an advanced stage, not this time. The effort has been aborted even before it started.
This was to be expected. The Patriotic Front was not interested in a new constitution because it would have put the 2016 elections beyond them, hence the dribbling and prevarication.
The current constitution is perfect for the PF. It vests most power in the President who is beyond reproach or scrutiny and can therefore provide the “enabling” environment, resources and mechanisms to ensure that the party sails through regardless of the situation on the ground.
The new constitution would have checked some of these powers. The establishment of a constitutional court would have ensured that any excesses by the President or indeed any arm of Government would have been checked.
That would have proved to be an encumbrance to the free reign of the biased Police Force who can arrest and detain individuals at will. They can beat up political opponents of the ruling party and get away with it.
The one and most important lessons that Zambians have learnt in the last 50 years of independence is the critical need of constitutional safeguards to ensure that the political leadership is accountable. The 27 years of the one party authoritarian system under UNIP taught Zambians a lesson which they would not want to repeat.
They want to live in a democracy where the rule of law thrives, where they are not afraid of the Police or Special Branch, indeed they want to live in a free and vibrant society where all citizens are equal under the law
It has become imperative and certainly very clear that good governance can only be guaranteed where there is a very clear separation of power which is not the case now. We have a situation where the Executive has completely ignored the Legislature to the detriment of Governance.
By undermining the Legislature the Executive has compromised the requisite balance of power that must exist in a functional democracy.
This is evident in the manner state resources have been mobilized and utilized. There is presently no cohesive public resource management because oversight has been removed from the National Assembly. The budget has become a matter of course with elements passed because the Patriotic Front has inbuilt majority in the House.
This should not be the case.
We are slowly but surely accumulating debt because of the reckless capital expenditure that has not been matched with equal investment in productive activities including export and economic diversification that would have ensured that the country would repay debts as they become due.
Another worrying issue is the bill of rights and the growing lawlessness of sections of society associated with the ruling party.
Already the United States Government has cautioned Government against the deteriorating Human Right situation in the country where Police are assuming more oppressive powers including discriminatory application of the Public order Act.
That is why Zambia needs a new constitution.