The devil is always in the detail and that is why we can understand why some sections of society are expressing disquiet over provisions contained in the newly assented constitution.

It is understandable that many who do not have access to the original draft are expressing ignorance and sometimes total hostility to provisions including the 50 plus one clause.

Sadly among those currently expressing doubts and concerns about the constitution including the Law Association of Zambia, are highly educated members of society who either participated in the constitution making process or indeed played a role in the constitution making process.

It is these people who do not mean well that we are concerned about because they are spreading unnecessary anxiety strife and disaffection where it should not arise.

The entire constitution process has been systematic, albeit stormy.

The mode of adoption equally has been through parliament which by law is dominated by people’s representatives and therefore rightly mandated to make decisions on behalf of the Zambian people.  The rumblings and expressions of dissatisfaction with aspects of the constitution are quite understandable considering that no single statute will satisfy all the people. 

Not even the American constitution has withstood the test of time in totality because it has been amended as and when the need arose and the opportunity presented itself.

This constitution is not created in stone and mortar.  It is a statute that can be amended and the law provides for amendments.

It is very sad and alarming that in undermining the current constitution individuals are not only distancing themselves from the process from which it was born but are condemning wholesale the entire document as a wasted effort.

It cannot be a wasted effort because the Zambian people have more than 80 percent of clauses, ideas and aspirations for which they have clamored in the last 30 years of constitution making.

Previous attempts have been still born in spite of huge expenditures spent on logistics and related costs.  All these amounted to nothing because at the end there was no document or constitution worth the name or status.

For the first time Zambians have a document which they can study, understand and ultimately appreciate, thus providing an opportunity for assimilation and hopefully to be honoured in observance rather than in breach.

It would be worthless to design a seemingly outstanding constitution that is not regarded by the political and civil society.

A constitution is only as good as the manner in which it is regarded and utilized by the people.

Africa is replete with constitutions and yet it is a continent that has seen some of the worst violations of human rights and the law.

Therefore instead of dismissing this effort and bring on board other statutory shortcomings this country is better served by enabling as many people as possible to understand the positive elements and their impact on society.

Categorized | Editorial

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