MINISTER of Justice Wynter Kabimba says President Sata’s statement that the constitution only needs to be amended was misunderstood to mean he does not want a new constitution and that the constitution-making process is still ongoing.
Mr Kabimba said in parliament on Teusday that if the President did not want the constitution-making process to go ahead, he would have dissolved the Technical Committee on Drafting the Constitution.
“If that were true, the president would have dissolved it [technical committee]. He has those powers but its mandate is still ongoing,” he said.
Mr Kabimba was responding to a point of order by Mazabuka UPND member of Parliament (MP) Garry Nkombo, who wanted to establish whether the Patriotic Front government had deviated from its campaign promise on the constitution making process.
Mr Nkombo said there have been varying and contradictory statements about the constitution-making process, adding that the President said the ‘constitution only needed to be amended’.
Mr Kabimba said Government remains committed to the process and that the technical committee is expected to hand over the final draft to the president by December 31 this year.
He was responding to Lupososhi MP Patrick Mucheleka, who wanted to know why Government has not given permission to the technical committee to print more than 10 copies of the draft constitution to hand over to the President and members of the public.
He said the committee will hand over 10 copies to the President and that more copies will be printed after the handover.
Mr Kabimba said Government will wait for the technical committee to hand over the final draft report and bill and that the next course of action will be guided by Government and stakeholders.
He said Government is not contradicting itself and that it will deliver a people-driven constitution, and that it will do everything in the interest of the people.
Mr Kabimba said it is unfair for some sections of society to impose their views on others because of their inability to understand the constitution- making process.
He said there should be equal and unhindered participation from all irrespective of their status in society.
“I would like to implore all stakeholders and participants to desist from pouring scorn and contempt on those whose views are at variance with their own. This is what democracy entails,” Mr Kabimba said.