THE Grand Coalition of a people-driven Constitution has accused President Edgar Lungu of sabotaging the constitution–making process by proposing to use Parliament as a way of amending the document, describing the process as being treacherous and risky.
Coalition chairperson Leonard Chiti charged that President Lungu deliberately set up the whole process to fail by taking it to the wrong platform.
Fr. Chiti said the coalition was not surprised by President Lungu’s statement on Thursday last week that if the Constitution Amendment Bill was not passed in Parliament, he would keep away from it and that he would not touch it in future because he allegedly knew that Government wanted the process to fail.
“It is not surprising that the President is predicting that the Constitution will be sabotaged in Parliament before the process has even started because he knew all along that the parliamentary route to amending such a document was treacherous and risky.
‘‘The President deliberately set up the whole process to fail by taking it to the wrong platform.
“The GC has consistently advocated against this route for the very reason that it is treacherous and would subject the Constitution to failure. The GC therefore asserts that President Lungu cannot wash his hands off the Constitution at this moment, when it has been his intention all along to see the process fail,” Fr. Chiti said.
He accused the Patriotic Front (PF) Government of not wanting to enact a new Constitution ‘‘in its lifetime as a ruling party’’ because it was allegedly never interested in enacting it from the time it realised that the Draft Constitution contained progressive clauses that would ensure good governance.
He said President Lungu wanted to hoodwink the people of Zambia so that they could blame the parliamentarians and the opposition for the PF’s failure to deliver a new Constitution before 2016, a snare which the coalition was aware of from the beginning.
“Whatever fails in Parliament cannot be blamed on the opposition because it is the PF that has a majority, and they have also joined forces with the MMD. The PF have 87 Members of Parliament, while the opposition parties and independent MPs hold combined total of 71 seats.
‘‘Out of the 71 opposition MPs, 12 have been appointed to the PF Government as ministers, deputy ministers and provincial ministers. This means practically, the PF has at least 109 MPs pushing its agenda in the National Assembly. So if there is any scheme to make the Constitution fail in Parliament, it is by the PF,” he said.
He said the coalition was aware that the PF had already decided which provisions they did not want.
He claimed the coalition was aware that the Government planned to drop all the ‘‘progressive provisions’’ and retain those on dual citizenship, the date of the election and re-naming of the Police Force to Police Service.
“We know that they have even taken steps in pursuit of this scheme by engaging some Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) MPs to support them.
‘‘This is unacceptable. On our part as the Grand Coalition, we have been consistent and principled that the parliamentary route to amend a people’s document is undemocratic, treacherous, fraudulent, retrogressive, counter-productive and undermines the power vested in the people by the Constitution,” Fr Chiti said.