ZAMBIANS should be allowed to heal and get over the effects of the 2016 general elections before embarking on another costly process of a referendum, Senior Chief Madzimawe of the Ngoni people has said.
And the Civil Society for Poverty Reduction has charged that lack of patriotism from civil society contributed to the collapse of the referendum.
Chief Madzimawe said Zambians have been heavily fatigued by the general elections which included voting for the referendum and it was important to allow citizens to rest before embarking on another intensive and costly exercise of the referendum.
“Let us first take time and heal from these elections and costs then we can give the referendum a thought as a country. If we decide to make a decision to have another referendum now, it will definitely be a wrong one because of the election hangover,” the traditional leader said.
He said anything to do with the referendum should start after a two-year break from election-related activities for it to have positive result.
Meanwhile, the CSPR board chairman Isaac Ngoma has castigated some civil society organisations for working with some political parties to campaign against the referendum which could have enhanced the rights of Zambians.
Mr Ngoma said some civic organisations in collaboration with opposition political parties went flat out to frustrate the referendum which could have improved the welfare of citizens.
“The country has lost a great opportunity to guarantee the much-needed rights for uplifting the social and economic welfare of its citizens. We are further saddened to note that the failure of the referendum is partly attributed to lack of patriotism by key stakeholders, which include civil society organizations and political leaders who sent out discouraging messages to the voters,” he said.
He explained that with the remarkable high voter turnout in the election, the 50 percent eligible voter threshold was easily attainable but because of the negative messages against the referendum the process collapsed.
Mr Ngoma said the amendment of the Bill of Rights, through a referendum, was a national matter which should have been supported by all citizens regardless of political affiliation.
The CSPR has since appealed to the Government, Members of Parliament and all stakeholders to reflect on the failed process and urgently work out rather than abandon the entire process.