Some people have expressed misgivings about the new Constitution, saying it is discriminatory.

But I put it to them that there’s nowhere in the world where they can find a perfect constitution; a constitution which has no discriminatory clauses.

A constitution must have benchmarks to prevent anarchy. You can’t have a free for all situation in the name of avoiding discrimination.

There are many clauses where qualifications have been stated and it will be wrong for those who don’t qualify to cry foul.

This is not discrimination but creating room for order, resulting from the rule of law.

A few examples will suffice: a presidential candidate must be at least 35 years old; a minimum of Grade 12 certificate or equivalent is needed for councillors and members of Parliament; a minimum of 15 years experience is needed for one to qualify for appointment to the Supreme or Constitutional Court; losing candidates are not eligible for certain appointments; someone with dual citizenship is not eligible for President.

Anyone who says the foregoing clauses of the new Constitution are discriminatory is just politicking.

These clauses are progressive. Surprisingly, even some known ‘learned’ persons have cited the ‘certificate clause’ as discriminatory.

Look at all advertisements for employment or admission to college/university. Qualifications are specified so as to avoid confusion.

Envisage what will happen on nomination day if the Constitution didn’t specify qu alifications for ward councillor, parliamentary or presidential candidate.

Render criticism of the new Constitution if you have plausible explanations. Freedom of expression does not mean speaking even when one has nothing of substance to say.

Francis J. Kalipenta

Categorized | Letters

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