I totally agree with the point that shockwaves have struck all political parties after revelations that no candidate without a minimum academic qualification of Grade 12 certificate would be allowed to contest the Presidency, Vice Presidency, Parliament and council elections (Daily Nation, December 29, 2015).
The new Constitution has fundamentally altered the chessboard for all future presidential, parliamentary and local government polls and positively so.
Even though this requirement should be enforced with the verification process of Grade 12 certificates by the Examination Council of Zambia (ECZ) prior to the election nomination days to weed out counterfeit certificates.
This fee or free service could ably be provided by the ECZ on behalf of the Electoral Commission of Zambia.
On top of this, in the local government elections, Zambians would go for quality leadership and elect result-oriented individuals including non-politicians who have distinguished themselves in the private and public sectors – councillors who are able to effectively articulate community-based burning issues.
And UPND vice president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) when asked about his chances of contesting as a presidential running-mate in the forthcoming polls and taking into account the Grade 12 certificate prerequisite, claimed that his priority was not to earn a position because as a successful businessman, he was already living better than the President.
Was GBM insinuating that one could be a successful businessman like himself without a Grade 12 academic qualification?
By the way, what is GBM’s academic qualification? Please advise. However, at the bottom of these election contestants’ quality assurance mechanisms is the question of food on the table and the opportunity to earn a decent living for all Zambians. It appears the Constitution debate has shifted from its original focus to that of the fortunes of the opposition UPND politicians.
But common people do not see how that would improve the situation in their wallets.
The verdict on how the electorate responds to this Grade 12 certificate prerequisite will be seen at the next election in 2016.