A very erroneous impression is being created that the constitution of Zambia is the product and function of the Patriotic Front manifesto.
This is neither correct, truthful nor tenable.
Zambians want a constitution that will bring them a second liberation. They want a constitution that will liberate them from the tyranny of political authoritarians and internally generated “colonialism” that has become synonymous with the advent of independence with most developing countries.
After fighting off the shackles of colonial independence most countries have found themselves enslaved in locally generated oppressive systems that have seen unprecedented and often undemocratic changes of Government.
Zambia was not spared this specter, several attempts were made to change but thankfully these were repelled before lasting damage could be made.
It is on this basis that Zambians have continued to seek for a constitution that not only liberates but also empowers them.
That is why we fault Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba who took issue with previous constitution making processes but lauding the obscure and yet to be cleared attempt that the Patriotic Front has taken.
Previous attempts can be credited with clear and well articulated roadmaps that were safeguarded by legal frameworks that ensured that the process and content were protected. This is not the case now.
All participants including the Technical committee have been left guessing. Not even the summit organized by Saccord yesterday offered any clear roadmap. The onus remained with the Government and from all indications Zambia will not have a constitution by 2016.
We have said before and would like to repeat that the best course forward is for the Zambian people across all political and civil groups to adopt the current draft, finalize, refine and present it as the benchmark for the next elections.
The grand coalition will be wasting a lot of precious time, effort and indeed resources attempting to force Government into enacting a constitution before the 2016 elections. This will not happen for as long as the 50+1, running mate and other contentious clauses remain in the draft.
To imagine otherwise is an exercise in futility.
It is unrealistic to expect that the Government with an interest to protect will include clauses that will emasculate them of political power, because the whole essence of politics is to gain power, maintain it and enhance it. No Government works to hand over power to competitors. The PF Government would be the first one to do so.
That is why it is very important that those agitating for a new constitution must understand the dynamics at play and work within them otherwise doing anything else is not only counter intuitive but a definite waste of time.