Wait for 11th August 2016 and stop insulting and unleashing violence. Campaigns should not be allowed to either dominate the constitutional making process or undermine Zambia’s PEACE brand. To argue that “process Safeguards content” may be true, and/but we should not ignore or neglect the fact that constitutional making is a political process, which too is subject to both process and delivery accountability.
Unfortunately or fortunately no entity or individual is exempt from holistic accountability, which is a fundamental requirement of true democracy.
The President of the Republic of Zambia, in this case HE Edgar Chagwa Lungu, is accountable for both process and delivery to Zambians, having taken the necessary legal and legitimate oath.
I would like us to move away from denial and face reality. Question One (1): Did Zambians follow the law and therefore the process in making amendments to the constitution?
The Answer is yes. Some groups and individuals may have dissented but democracy requires us to move on and co-exist. There will be next time. No constitution is cast in stone. Two (2):
Was the product delivered? The answer is an equivocal Yes. Again, not all citizens accept the result. Some lost the vote and some carried the day. Not different in outcome and effect, from a soccer result, yet, consensus is critical in a democracy.
PROGRESSIVE realization of processes is what mature democracies have been doing over time. Zambians should thus write their story!
If we look at the legal process, Appeal to the Higher Court, is a right but there comes a point when the matter must rest. In Zambia, that comes from any Judgment of the Supreme Court which benefits from the legal doctrine of Res Judicata.
The point is that in a democracy, and indeed even in life, all matters must come to a close. It is like forgiveness.
You must be capable of forgiving if you seek forgiveness from the Almighty. After all and in any case, vengeance is for the Lord, as believers are taught not to Judge. In the world or state of nature, as evidenced in business transactions, judgments, even harsh ones, as seen in political criminality and propaganda, are not in shortage.
Those who are familiar with the debate around the writing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) will note that there was no agreement, which is partly why the document is not legally binding, but persuasive.
From an International law perspective, it is possible to motivate that it has now attained a legally binding effect. You will also note that in 1948, the entire Africa was in bondage – under colonial rule and race relations in the biggest democracy, the United States, extremely bad, leading to documented loss of life. In short most of the participants at the UDHR San Francisco conference had negative baggage but that did not stop the road towards a safer world. Along the way, those who opposed the UDHR are now serious and enviable supporters.
A critical aspect of any democracy is to accept results a democratic process and move on. Here, it is important that I once again underline the fact that in constitutional making, there is a major difference between ADOPTION and ENACTMENT. From where Zambia stands, we have adopted the constitution, with the exception of the Bill of Rights, formerly, part III and now part IV.
Briefly, ADOPTION refers to all the processes that lead to enactment. (Provincial and District meetings, workshops, seminars and any other campaigns, whatever the nature and character) My view is that boycotting any of the process is a form of participation, just like picketing, negative as they may be. Because this is a political process, there are consequences to boycotting. One of the consequences is born out of time and space, because, every society is dynamic.
What was impossible yesterday may be possible today. Those who opposed a particular motion so hard might not be there to oppose the same after many years. But one thing certain is that in response to time, society moves on, as they say in marriage, for better or worse.
ENACTMENT simply refers to the various processes and stages that a constitutional bill passes in Parliament before becoming law. At this stage, where we now stand, you can only lobby your Members of Parliament.
This alone means that me and you must make certain that the candidates we elect, are capable.
Law, is dynamic – never static. Let me illustrate the dynamism further. In 1964, most spheres of the Zambian society were dominated by the white species of human entity. Not anymore.
The entire civil service is run by indigenous Zambian Nationals, which that was not the case in 1964. Society; has moved on. A word of caution is apt: Nobody should allow him or herself to be judged harshly by posterity! (It has taken decades, to mitigate the negative effect of colonialism) So is the case with the so called political violence and threats of civil war.
I still do not believe, but accept that some people are now associated violence, including unacceptable language. Do not abuse your brother or sister!
Fifty years ago, it was not politically correct to campaign against Gender Based Violence (GBV). Now it is. Those who ignore it do so at their own peril.
Just look at how authorities in Kenya and later Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) responded to Music Star Koffi Olomide! Just look at the uproar, one politician is causing in Zambia! Is it worth it? My position is that GBV is primitive, barbaric and an abomination to humanity. It is a scandal whose defense or justification undermines humanity.
I am unable to believe that a responsible and reasonable person can actually tacitly embrace GBV in the name of freedom of Association.
I have said before that every right carries with it corresponding duties and responsibilities and to this, there is no exception. It is all symbols of human entity!
As mentioned earlier on, a democrat accepts results of democratic institutions which are both legal and legitimate. To import illegality or illegitimacy in a functional government process is not only an act of disloyalty but the greatest mischief that disrupts governance in preference for instability. For me, the horror and terror in Rwanda, is still fresh in my mind and few will agree that key institutions of peace in that country then, abandoned their custodian role. In this respect alone, they are partners with shame and gross human rights violations. Those privileged to lead others must seriously ask themselves, whether they want to be partners with shame.
We shall soon be voting on the referendum. This is a key and critical process, which requires us to appreciate the “YES” position by many of our powerful institutions and prominent personalities.
I must state that the support for a YES vote in the referendum is constitutional. You must support the referendum because it will result in some of the following positive steps.
•Repeal and Replacement of Article 79 to be replaced by Article 303, which Article will be used in all future referendum. A Referendum is a key requirement of any democracy because it speaks to citizen participation.
•It will result in an expanded BILL OF RIGHTS. What does this mean? It means that the Zambian Government undertakes to guarantee the rights which now have been INCREASED, Any violation of the guaranteed rights means that you can drag government to Court to seek enforcement and the Courts will adjudicate accordingly. For the first time in Zambia, all Economic, Cultural and Social Rights are now in the expanded Bill of Rights.
•Any person can seek redress in the Courts of Law if the bill of rights has been contravened. It will now be possible to expand what Lawyers call Loci Standi, because, another person can bring an action against the violation of another person’s rights and freedoms. Effectively, it means, there now is space for PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION. If your neighbor is abusing a dependant or your friend has been unfairly treated, you can bring action.
•For those opposed to Gay and Lesbian Rights, a vote for YES means promoting and upholding family values, as known in Zambia. In the proposal, legible persons shall be able to marry another legible person of the OPPOSITE sex.
•A vote for YES means your culture shall be protected by law.
•A vote for YES means the entire electoral process shall be protected and eliminates political machinations
•A vote for YES means that we as a people collectively agree to protect and promote disability rights.
There are many other benefits. The argument that the question is confusing is most unfortunate. It is unfortunate because a single question has been complicated by those who do not agree that the word “and” is a conjunction and what we have is a compound sentence.
To argue that we should ONLY vote for a single item tells me that some have refused to accept the “indivisibility” character of human rights. It is the duty of those who are in the know, to be patriotic and explain any gray area(s) in the spirit of Love and not Hate. See you next week.
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