The Patriotic Front (PF) Government should not attempt to dilute the interest of the people contained in the final Draft Constitution as doing so will attract serious sanction, the Grand Coalition on a People-driven Constitution has warned.
Coalition vice chairperson Sara Longwe said yesterday that the PF’s delay to present the Constitution Amendment Bill for committee stage was a plot against the aspirations of the Zambian people on the constitution-making process.
She said the Grand Coalition was concerned that the PF had failed to express their interests through parliamentary submission, but were using Parliament to choose in order to blame Members of Parliament (MPs) of their own dubious intentions.
Ms. Longwe made these remarks at a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday.
“The PF deliberately took the Constitution to Parliament to set it up for cherry-picking. Now they are not sure about their numbers, they are chickening out of the debate,” she said.
Ms. Longwe also charged that the PF were delaying the Bill to go for third reading as a way to manipulate some MPs to side with them in the choosing process.
“We suspect that the PF is developing cold feet, wading like a duck on frozen water by not tabling the Bill for third reading last Thursday.
“We have been reliably informed that the PF government did that so that they can buy time to manipulate some MPs to support them in the process,” she said.
Ms Longwe said the Grand Coalition would not relent in advocating a people’s draft, adding that subjecting it to debate was immoral.
Ms. Longwe urged MPs to adopt the constitutional Bill in its entirety and not leave out articles that the people wanted because the PF did not want them.
She appealed to the MPs to be ethical enough and ensure that the Bill tabled in Parliament was adopted without debate in order to ensure that the people’s aspirations were included.
“Therefore we wish to remind the MPs that the Bill must be adopted without debate and ensure that the Zambian people’s aspirations are not tampered with,” Ms Longwe said.
She, however, said the Grand Coalition would continue to demand for the adoption of the constitution through a referendum, as it guaranteed and protected citizen’s own voices.
“Zambia needs a people-driven constitution now after struggling to do so in the past 25 years,” she said.