WE are very optimistic that this country will go to the polls with a new Constitution with or without the referendum.
And we entirely agree with Paramount Chief Chitimukulu that we have spent far too much time and spent far too much money on the Constitution process which in the final analysis may only be observed in breach like so many others.
Our confidence arises from the spirit and determination of the Zambian people to give to themselves a Constitution that will respect their interests while safeguarding the future through the establishment of structures such as the Constitutional Court that will interpret the law in accord with prevailing circumstances.
It is a great fallacy to suggest that the partial amendment of the constitution will translate into governance problems.
It is only those who see problems in every initiative and activity who will enjoy this self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. A good Constitution and good governance are two independent variables that must be treated as such.
A good Constitution is not a guarantee that it will be observed. It is very much like professional codes of ethics which are written in laborious language and crafted through elaborate procedures only to be disregarded and discarded for egoistical and political reasons.
We certainly do not agree that parliament should be by-passed in this process, after all the National Assembly is the one institution that represents the Zambian people. It is the only elected body mandated to oversee and supervise the work of the Executive.
Therefore any attempt to subvert it is bound to fail.
We would rather the current Draft Constitution was debated to provide the final opportunity for changes before it is enacted Thereafter the National Assembly, like they did in Kenya, will scrutinize it for eventual enactment.
Unless this is done the entire exercise will fail because ultimately parliament must legislate and unless it agrees there is no way any other body will legislate the Constitution.
This is a reality we must accept because the Zambian people voted the national assembly to represent them and whether or not the law association of Zambia does not trust the National Assembly is immaterial and is neither here nor there.
The reality is that all laws must go through the National Assembly, hence the need for consensus.
Instead of quibbling and prevaricating the opposing parties must come together and find a workable solution that will ensure that the largest part of the Constitution involving immediate areas of consensus are adopted leaving the entrenched clauses to the referendum.
This is as it should be because the constitution, our supreme law of the land, reposes legislative power in the National Assembly and anything outside that is null void and not practicable.