ZAMBIANS should never again allow debate on the law making process in a retrospective manner as commands of State have lasting effect on citizens.
The case in point is the amended Constitution which has drawn controversy on some of the clauses it carries.
If Zambians cared to read and understand the law-making process, the hullabaloo going on could not have even reached Parliament.
The law-making process does not start with the President assenting to an amendment Bill.
We say so because the contents of any law are always in public domain many months before the Bill is tabled before Parliament and later for presidential assent.
This was the case with the amended Constitution.
Zambians have had so many Constitutional Review Commissions where the very clauses being ‘‘rejected’’ now have been high on the submission list.
Those who sat in the National Constitutional Conference established by President Levy Mwanawasa (late) remember that members went up to the smallest unity of a district to gather views on the submissions which were contained in the final draft of the Constitution.
When President Mwanawasa died, it is public knowledge that his successor, Rupiah Banda, continued the constitution-making process up to Parliament where it collapsed purely because the PF in the opposition at the time and the UPND did not agree with the process.
It is therefore difficult to understand the complaints about the ‘‘discriminatory’’ contents when the Draft Constitution with its many other previous submissions were in public domain.
Even the amended Constitution assented to by President Edgar Lungu was in the public domain many months before he became Head of State.
All remember that when President Michael Sata appointed Mr Lungu as Justice Minister in 2014, the new minister’s promise was to release the Draft Constitution.
In fact, the Draft Constitution was released to the public through Parliament even before President Sata died on October 29, 2014.
The catch phrase then was why didn’t the members of the public read the document so that they could make reasonable contributions to their Members of Parliament so that the law makers could make meaningful debates in the National Assembly when the Draft Constitution was presented in the House?
It is now surprising that some of the people complaining about the provisions in the amended Constitutions are Members of Parliament.
The attempt to debate laws retrospectively should not be allowed to continue in our quest to develop our democracy. Zambians should part with the culture of attending conferences for the sake of drawing allowances at the expense of the content of the document being prepared.
Perhaps this vindicates the desire of Zambians who made submissions to Constitution Review Commissions to up the academic qualifications for those wishing to stand for public political offices.
Therefore, the Grade 12 qualification being demanded as minimum requirement for those interested to contest the civic leadership, membership of Parliament or Presidency makes sense.