It is a grave and regrettable mistake President Michael Sata is making turning his back against the Catholic Church leadership after they supported him for presidency, says Veteran Politician Vernon Mwaanga.
In an interview yesterday, Mwaanga said that President Sata would soon regret the threats against the Catholic Church Bishops who were only doing what the people of Zambia wanted.
Mwaanga said that the demand for the new constitution was real and President Sata should take responsibility by honouring the promise he made in full to the people rather than threatening to sort out individual citizens, the church, Bishops, opposition political party leaders and the civil society organisations demanding for the release of the Draft Constitution.
Mwaanga popularly known as VJ said that he was shocked to learn that President Sata had issued threats of sorting out Chipata Diocese Bishop George Lungu over the demand for the constitution.
“I have to remind the leadership (President Sata) in particular that he made a commitment to the people of Zambia to give them a constitution within 90 days and it is therefore important to live to such promises. He must be aware also that the issue of the constitutional making process had been going on since 2003 and it is now over 11 years without any tentative document. Even countries like Zimbabwe who have had a failed process they finally had their constitution through a referendum,” said Mwaanga.
Mwaanga said that threats of sorting out Bishop Lungu must be taken seriously because a Head of State had too much power, adding that it was the first time he was hearing such threats which he said never happened even in the one party state.
He said that with such threats coming from a Head of State it had become eminent that the PF government was not willing to engage the people on matters of national importance.
“It is extremely worrying that President Sata could issue such threats to a Bishop. It is not the Bishops who committed themselves to giving Zambians a constitution, it was the leaders. So it is only fair and prudent to take responsibility,” said Mwaanga.
The former Minister and Diplomat also said that the PF regime should not misled itself on the need for a new constitution because that would be a grave error of judgment on their party.
“If they misled the constitution making process thinking that the document is being driven or demanded for by disgruntled people they are making a grave error of judgment and that will cost them an election in 2016,” he warned.
He said that President Sata should be mindful that the Catholic Church and its Bishops were an integral part to his ascendance to power on an understanding that he would deliver a constitution which would aspire, inspire and protect freedom and rights for the general population.
The veteran politician said that turning back on the church which supported his presidency and treating them like un-important component in governance should be a source of concern.
Mwaanga said that it should be noted with great interest that the demands of the new constitution were real, genuine and clear, hence Zambians should not give up until the new constitution was enacted.
“President Sata should heed to the Catholic Church and other Bishops who have made it clear the need to have a new constitution.
Taking the route he is making now, it will soon cast a dark cloud on his leadership and that of the PF,” he said.
He urged President Sata to re-look and reflect on the promises he made and the nature of the message prior to the general election rather than being personal now.
Mwaanga warned that not delaying tactics and empty threats on individuals would stop people from demanding for the constitution, adding that the threats he made would not deter Zambians from demanding for a new constitution.