IT is campaign time again and presidential candidates are jostling for votes in their quest to win the coming election.

The politicians are making mega promises some of which will be difficult to fulfill in the 16 months of transitional of governance.

Other presidential contenders have even signed social contracts with civil society organisations committing themselves to honouring all the campaign pledges they are making.

Zambians have heard most of the promises being pledged before and are certainly gauging the political leaders in the coming presidential contest and certainly would not want to be taken for another political ride.

Almost all presidential contenders have pledged to enact a people-driven Constitution before 2016 if elected next month, declaring that the new Constitution would be enacted via a referendum.

Zambia’s constitution-making journey has been a long and financially taxing one and successive governments including the Patriotic Front (PF) have failed to deliver a people-driven Constitution.

When the National Constitution Conference collapsed during the Rupiah Banda administration, it became a fundamental campaign tool for PF and other opposition political parties to promise a new Constitution.

The promise of delivering a new Constitution within 90 days by the PF resonated well with the electorate because Zambians had waited longer than necessary for the supreme law.

Today, presidential aspirants are still using the enactment of the new Constitution within the transitional period of governing but none has so far explained how this is going to be possible.

Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) president Andrew  Ntewewe has warned that while it is good to promise that the Constitution will be delivered before 2016, this may not be feasible realistically because one and half years is not enough time to complete the process.

There are many people who may agree with Mr Ntewewe over this matter because they feel the constitution-making process is not a simple matter that can be done at the speed the politicians are promising.

There shall be need for the country to conduct a national census before embarking on a referendum and with the general elections in 2016, any political party that is going to form government next month will face the pressure of fulfilling such a pledge.

But how a new Constitution will be achieved using the method preferred by the majority of Zambians must be explained.

We challenge the presidential contenders in this presidential election to be explicit and state how they are going to achieve this feat so that Zambians are not taken on another ride.

The politicians should be alive to the fact that there is but a short period between January 2015 and 2016 before they are made to account for their promises.

Categorized | Editorial

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