PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has proposed that contentious clauses in the draft Constitution such as the 50+1 percent and the presidential running mate could be included in the Constitution through amendments that could be cheaper and not time consuming.
And President Lungu has said the Public Order Act was a “necessary evil” for the maintenance of law and order and has challenged lawyers to come up with amendments to the law so that it could be in conformity with the current political environment.
President Lungu said he was determined to deliver a new and people-driven Constitution but was concerned with the amount of money the entire process would gobble and the time it would take to be completed.
He observed that Zambians were demanding 50+1 percent for a presidential candidate to be declared a winner and a presidential running mate but that if he had his way, he was going to allow constitutional amendments so that contentious clauses could be dealt with in a short time at less cost.
President Lungu said 50+1 percent was not going to unite the people or make the president so elected legitimate because there was a possibility that a candidate could garner majority votes from one region.
“Let me dare the country that we can change the Constitution cheaply and quickly by making amendments to the Constitution. The Zambians are demanding the 50+1 and a presidential running mate and we can quickly have these but would they unite us? A candidate can get 50+1 percent from three provinces such as Copperbelt, Luapula and Northern provinces. We do not need a cut and paste Constitution.
“I pledged to deliver a new Constitution before 2016 and I have given you the draft Constitution and the roadmap. You have Ngosa Simbyakula who is a competent lawyer and that is the man you can work with,” Mr Lungu said.
President Lungu said the Grand Coalition on the Constitution forced him to sign a social contract but he refused and still won the presidential election even when the coalition campaigned against him.
He said Zambia needed a Constitution that would do away with by-elections because they were too costly to the Zambian people, adding that it was not correct for Zambians to force Government to state the exact period in which to come up with a new Constitution.
And President Lungu said the Public Order Act has been a challenge for a long time by successive governments because it was a necessary evil meant to maintain law and order.
He said when the PF was in the opposition, it condemned the law but when the party formed Government in 2011, it found the law to be handy.
The President said the church and the civil society organisations did not have a problem with the POA but that the law was unpopular with politicians particularly those in the opposition.
“The Public Order Act has been a challenge particularly to politicians in the opposition who have been crying foul over the application of the law. When we were in the opposition, we complained about it but when we got into Government, we found it handy. The law is a necessary evil for us in Government because no country can be governed without law and order,” Mr Lungu said.
Meanwhile, President Lungu has said he never dreamed to be President of Zambia but that when party members called on him, he accepted their call not because he was such an ambitious man but because the party needed a leader after the death of president Michael Sata.
He said if the party was going to ask him to consider contesting the 2016 general elections, he was going to make himself available, adding that if the party would decide to endorse someone else, he would still be glad to leave because he was still energetic.