President Mwanawasa in his capacity as the president of the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy, MMD, attended the meeting held under the auspices of the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue.
Speaking at the opening of the summit, ZCID summit chairperson Justice Frederick
Chomba regretted that the country has for too long paid attention to politics of bickering and sectarianism at the expense of national development.
Justice Chomba charged that utterances by political party leaders in the recent past
clearly indicate that there has been no consensus on major national issues such as the constitution making process.
He said failure by political leaders to reach consensus on the enactment of a new constitution has surprised many, as there is an all round agreement that the Chiluba
constitution of 1996 is so flawed that it needs to be replaced.
“However, since 2003 divisive, acrimonious and cacophonous utterances have continually been made, deafening the ears of the masses,” he said.
Justice Chomba pointed out that the lack of consensus on the constitution making process has resulted in increased poverty levels and coupled with diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
He said the current woes the country was facing are due to insignificant development
achieved in the social, political and economic sectors.
“These calamities are happening because there has been too much politicking in negative terms. One can justifiably say that the maladies have made our political independence pale into insignificance and our independence has become meaningless especially to people at grass-root level,” he charged.
“I want you to know that twenty two million eyes are focused on you, expectantly hoping that you will pave a way to a new Zambia in which you will work closely to eliminate the obstacles which have propelled you to operate at cross purposes,” he added.
He reminded the party presidents that the meeting they were attending was not meant
to espouse sectarian political agendas but to collectively plan the future of the country and to lay a solid foundation for posterity.
Justice Chomba stressed that the success of the summit will mean progress for the
country and that failure will only spell doom and an uncertain future for the nation.
And ZCID board chairperson Katele Kalumba told the summit that the idea of a Constitution that will stand a taste of time stems from perceptions that past efforts to come up with an acceptable Constitution have not been satisfactory.
Mr. Kalumba, who is also MMD National Secretary, said therefore, it is important
that all stakeholders be specific and clear about the nature of the agreements and
disagreements surrounding the Mungomba Constitution recommendations.
He said there is need for political leaders to refine their thinking and secure a
common understanding if the quest for a constitution that will stand the taste of
time will be achieved.
Other political leaders that attended the meeting include Patriotic Front president
Michael Sata, United Liberal Party leader Sakwiba Sikota and UNIPs Tilyenji Kaunda.
All People’s Party president and National Democratic Party leaders Kenny Ngondo and
Ben Mwila were also present at the summit
The Forum for Development and Democracy, FDD, the United Party for National
Development, UPND, and the New Generation Party were all represented at the meeting
by their party stewards.
Zambia has so far undertaken four Constitution Reviews beginning with the Mainza
Chona Commission of 1972, the Mvunga Commission of 1990, the Mwanakatwe Commission of 1993 and the Mungomba Constitution Review of 2003.
In all these efforts, the question of constitutional legitimacy has been a critical