It seem improbable, but emerging reports of a planned snap election cannot be totally ruled out in view of the desperate antagonism the Patriotic Front has generated against opposition parties that are seeking to mobilize and therefore prepare for the 2016 elections.
It is educative that the PF Secretary General Wynter Kabimba has embarked on a vigorous mass mobilization campaign while police seemed to have received specific instructions to stop opposition parties from doing the same.
Clearly this is against the tenets of democracy and our very own supreme law of the land, the constitution which encourages and indeed defends the freedom to associate and assemble.
It is difficult to defend or speak informatively on the reported snap elections but it would appear that the playing field has neither been level nor conducive enough to allow for free and fair campaigning. We sympathize with the grand coalition which is still debating the issue of the constitution and is in the process of putting pressure on the government to release the draft.
It must be clear that the dynamic has changed and the issue of the constitution is no longer as immediate and as compelling to the Patriotic Front, which is more concerned with retaining and consolidating power.
Thus far the government has shown a total lack of responsiveness to criticism, advice or indeed counsel from any sector of society including the church.
As rightly pointed out by Peoples Party President Mike Mulongoti, there is now a determined hide and seek over the constitution and it is difficult to see how this matter can be advanced given that there has been total unwillingness from the government to release the draft report prepared by Technical Team.
This is indicative of the malaise or indeed deliberate inertia designed to derail and completely render non functional any future steps towards constitution making. The best the Grand Coalition can do in the circumstances is to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, that there will be no constitution this year and if indeed elections are held in 2016 and the PF wins there will be no constitution until 2019.
The most logical approach is to prepare for all eventualities including a possible snap election. This means that the Elias Chipimo idea or a variation of it must be considered by the global coalition.
All those advocating for a new constitution that will give Zambia a second liberation must consider a new dream “liberty coalition” that will field a winning combination that will be mandated to introduce and implement the various progressive pieces of legislation, enact the constitution and generally enable the creation of governance systems that will be answerable to the law rather than the political appointing authorities.
The country needs a respite to review and reflect over the 50 years of independence and identify those aspects of our democratic practice that have failed and are therefore in need of amendment, reform or indeed replacement with more progressive legislation.