THE Grand Coalition on the campaign for a People-Driven Constitution has maintained that the parliamentary route of adopting and enacting the new constitution is treacherous and not in line with the people’s aspirations.
Chairperson for the Grand Coalition Fr Leonard Chiti told a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday that the coalition decided to disapprove government’s plan after accessing and reading the Draft Constitutional Bill meant to be tabled in Parliament.
Fr Chiti contended that the process was meant to provide the government with a platform to alter the character of the final draft National Constitution through parliament debates.
“This will dishonour the interest of the people of Zambia, who validated the contents of the draft National Constitution through local, regional and national consultative meetings and through similar other platforms,” he said.
Fr Chiti said taking the entire draft National Constitution to Parliament was meant to make the public believe that government meant well.
He encouraged citizens to realize that PF was currently in control of Parliament and would use it as an opportunity to uphold Cabinet and party position and completely undo the people’s submissions.
Fr Chiti said the Grand Coalition was alive to the fact that the parliamentary route would take away the democratic right of the people of Zambia to decide what kind of National Constitution they wanted.
He said parliamentary route also subjected the people’s aspirations to debate and alterations in the PF majority parliament thereby jeopardizing any content that the people wanted if the people were not comfortable with it.
Fr Chiti said there was no need for MPs to debate the content of the draft constitution since they had already done it through their participation at the National Convention in April 2013.
He said it would also relegate the Bill of Rights as a secondary consideration while in actual fact it was an integral aspect of any constitutional order as it directly touched on the welfare of the people.
“Indicating that the Bill of Rights can wait is as good as telling people that ‘your life and your welfare is not important and therefore can wait,” Fr Chiti said.
He said the Grand Coalition saw it as a great mischief in the two-pronged approach and demanded that the Government respected the demands of the people by delivering a people driven constitution.
Fr Chiti said the Coalition was also in support of the Law Association of Zambia’s position to do all they could to ensure Government delivered a people driven constitution.
He called on Zambians to speak out against the Parliamentary route and demand that the PF government respected the people’s interest by insisting on a National Referendum to adopt the new constitution as it was the most democratic and people driven route.