Constitution impasse


Common sense must prevail over the constitution.

There is no need for Government and civil society, aided by some opposition political parties, to be pulling in different directions over the method to be used to achieve a new Constitution.

The indomitable and abiding reality is that Zambians are united in the one desire for a viable, lasting and acceptable constitution. This desire was manifest from the very first constitution bequeathed the nation from colonial Britain in 1964.

Successive Governments have established commissions with the serious desire of crafting a constitution that was totally indigenous and therefore responsive to the needs and desires of the Zambian people as opposed to the pre-independence constitution that was drawn by the colonial Government.

It is a reality that the current Constitution is largely a colonial document which achieved its purpose in transiting the nation from  the colonial era.

Therefore, it is puzzling that the mode of achieving a new constitution appears to be taking up much attention than the contents of the final draft constitution.

Since the final draft constitution was released in October last year, we have not seen interest groups scrutinising the document with a view of either protecting the content or making proposals to better the clauses.

The only active group we have heard so far has been the traditional leaders who have voiced their concerns on the clauses pertaining to land.

They want to retain traditional control on land than cede it to the President.

But there are many parts of the draft Constitution which Zambians need to know about to enable them make informed decisions to the proposed laws.

This cannot be achieved unless Government and civil society organisations sit down together to plan how the laws that they want enacted will be made known to the people.

While Government looks at all areas of human endeavour in its governance system, in our country, there exists different non-governmental organisations pushing different agendas which in one way or the other relate to some clauses in the constitution.

It would be interesting to see NGOs sponsoring meetings to talk about their positions on various clauses in the Constitution which relate to their mission.

We believe it would be a disservice to the public for the NGOs to concentrate on the mode of coming up with a new Constitution when the contents are hardly known.

Therefore, it is important that consensus is achieved so that both the mode of achieving a new constitution and the contents are known by the public.

It should be understood that a lot of public funds have gone into this constitution making process which started over seven years ago without much success.

Adopting a give and take stance in the Constitution making process can go a long way realising the long held dream of finally having a constitution which will stand the test of time.

Categorized | Editorial

Comments are closed.

Our Sponsor

Jevic Japanese Auto Inspections

Social Widgets powered by