No White Paper on constitution

Government’s scheme to manipulate the contents of the draft constitution and ambush Zambians with a White Pater as a process towards enacting a new constitution as opposed to the referendum will be resisted, says the Grand Coalition on the Constitution.

The coalition has said that plans to subvert the aspirations of the people to have a people-driven and durable constitution were nothing but an exercise in futility because Zambians would strongly resist the clandestine constitution maneuvers.

Coalition spokesperson MacDonald Chipenzi said Zambians would not accept any form of manipulation of the contents of the draft constitution and warned that the constitution making process would collapse if government was going to bulldoze citizens in the process. Mr Chipenzi said yesterday that the 50+1 percent clause for a winning presidential candidate, the presidential running mate and the appointment of ministers outside parliament clauses in the draft constitution were people’s submissions that should never be deviously expunged from the new constitution.

He said the National Constitution Conference (NCC) failed because the former government had adopted an attitude of arrogance instead of accommodating all stakeholders in the process.

Mr Chipenzi said the Church, the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), political parties, trade unions and student bodies had already made their position clear that they would not accept any other mode of adopting the new constitution other than through the referendum.

He said the coalition was aware that government was scheming to ambush Zambians with the White Paper and that was the reason Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba was asking for more debate on the submissions that had already been subjected to debate during the district, provincial and national conferences.

“As the Grand Coalition on the constitution, we shall not accept any form of manipulation of the contents of the draft constitution. We shall not accept any other mode of enacting the new constitution other than through the referendum. We are awake of the fact that government is scheming to ambush Zambians with a White Paper and use their numbers in Parliament to bulldoze people to have a constitution that will fail to meet the true aspirations of citizens. Unless they want the process to fail, let them attempt to doctor the contents of the draft constitution,’ Mr Chipenzi warned.

He said the technical part of drafting the constitution had been concluded by the technical committee and that it was the responsibility of government to show political will and listen to the demands of Zambians on how they could have their supreme law in the land crafted.

Mr Chipenzi said the Patriotic Front (PF) leadership had an opportunity to be on the right side of history by lowering their political ego and allow Zambians to have the last say on how they wanted to be governed.

He said government would be abusing resources to appoint another team to handle the debate Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba was proposing.

Mr Chipenzi said Zambians were only waiting for the road map and the referendum as the only means of enacting the new constitution.

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