The stiff-necked route that the Grand Coalition and opposition political parties have taken on the Constitution making process will spoil the efforts President Edgar Lungu has put in place to have contentious clauses amended through parliament, National Restoration Party president Elias Chipimo has charged.
And Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) president Andrew Ntewewe has accused the Grand Coalition, the Law Association of Zambia and some opposition parties of misleading the people of Zambia on the enactment of the constitution through the referendum.
Featuring on Radio Phoenix, Let the people talk programme yesterday, Mr. Chipimo said the route the Grand Coalition and the opposition have taken was self-deceptive and would not help the people of Zambia have a constitution.
The Grand Coalition and some opposition political parties are demanding a people driven constitution through a referendum.
The Grand Coalition will have a press briefing tomorrow.
Mr Chipimo said the PF Government should be appreciated as the ruling party wanted to see how power could be shared through the constitutional amendment process they have put in place.
“I have gone round in remote areas and rural areas including here in urban areas to find out what people want. I ask them what they desire. Honestly the constitution is not part of the things they desire,” he said.
Mr. Chipimo explained that issues of water, schools, farming inputs, food, good roads and to be paid on time whenever they supplied their farm produce was the things they wanted the most and not the constitution.
He said the Civil Society should have been spending time and effort to try and make that connection that the reason these things were not in place was because power was centralized and the people’s voice could not be heard under the structure provided by the current constitution.
Mr Chipimo said the argument by Civil Society that MPs cannot be trusted to do the right job was a lame and ignorant argument because the law cannot be changed before the constitution is amended, adding that the only body that could pass new laws was Parliament.
“It is Parliament, whether you have a Referendum or not. Parliament has to make laws. Why should Civil Society think that there should be one big slam change to the constitution before we make any acceptance to the changes to the constitution?
“Every amendment or change to the constitution has been made under piece meal amendments, it has been incremental. Look at the USA, the amendments have been done step by step. We cannot take everything and throw it away. So the insistence by the civil society goes against history, goes against logic, is it goes against common sense, all it does, it enforces a lack of trust,” he said. And Mr. Ntewewe said they supported Government’s approach to the constitution making process because it was the only sure way the people of Zambia would expect contentious amendments to the constitution done.
He said civil society should not be a covert opposition political party in order to spearhead a particular agenda as it was being perceived today in some of the NGO and movement entities.
Mr. Ntewewe said it was disappointing that LAZ had completely failed to give guidance to the nation on who had exclusive power to make laws, adding that LAZ had been playing politics to the detriment of having laws that would benefit the people of Zambia.