PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu deserves to be commended for taking a bold stance that he has no intention of removing the Grade 12 school certificate requirements from the amended Constitution, says Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) advocacy and communications programme officer Maxson Nkhoma.
He said it was a shame that even a Grade 12 certificate requirement should be a matter of public outcry and debate that had generated a lot of interest from various stakeholders.
“We therefore do not think that Zambia is such an illiterate country that even a Grade 12 certificate requirement should be a matter of public outcry and debate,’’ Mr Nkhoma said
He said Zambia needed people who could articulate issues of national interest for the development of the country, and therefore President Lungu should be supported for trying to make Zambia a better place for everyone.
Mr Nkhoma said CSPR was of a considered view that the Grade 12 certificate was a stepping stone for a strong foundation.
“We cannot be at the same level every time when things are changing on a daily basis, we need a better Zambia and with such clause in hand it will change the way we approach matters of national interest. Zambia needs qualified individuals in public offices if we are to make a change,” he said.
Mr Nkhoma said the Government demonstrated political will to devolve decision-making to the local people with the aim of having a responsive public service delivery system that aspired to meet the people’s needs.
He explained that time had come for Zambia to set standards for people wishing to aspire to public office in a bid to develop the nation and move in tune with developments in the global village.
Mr Nkhoma advised those who could have been disfranchised from participating in this year’s elections based on the certificate requirement to take advantage of the General Certificate Education examination which the Ministry Education had been running so that they participated in future elections.
“We support the stance of the Head of State because Zambia will risk not being taken seriously if the Government accepts to make amendments to progressive constitutional provisions such as the Grade 12 certificate requirement,” he said.
Mr Nkhoma wondered why some opposition political parties were now criticizing the Government for passing the certificate amendment when they were on record to have been pushing the Government to enact a Constitution without altering anything in the document.
“But look at what they are saying today, they have made a U-turn to suit their political agenda, which is not good for the country,” he said.
President Lungu has said he would not succumb to pressure to reverse the Grade 12 certificate clause contained in the new amended Constitution, saying the topic was dead and buried.