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Elias Chipimo proposes Interim President of Zambia to push for a new constitution

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Elias Chipimo speaking at the press briefing at the NAREP Secretariat
Elias Chipimo speaking at the press briefing at the NAREP Secretariat

Opposition NAREP President Elias Chipimo has proposed a grand plan to usher in an interim President for Zambia who will be tasked to come up with a new constitution.

The Blueprint entitled: “The Restoration of Zambian Democracy” is aimed at uniting opposition parties and other stakeholders to coordinate a mass movement of voters that will elect a neutral presidential candidate for a limited period of no more than 9 months.

Mr Chipimo made the proposals during a media briefing held at the NAREP Secretariat in Lusaka Sunday morning.

Below is the full statement from Mr Chipimo.

NATIONAL RESTORATION PARTY
LAUNCH OF BLUEPRINT FOR THE RESTORATION OF ZAMBIAN DEMOCRACY

The Background

A collective misery is being experienced across all sectors of society in Zambia. The high cost of living and the denial of basic rights and freedoms have combined to create a deep sense of despondency and concern about Zambia’s future.  With a government that is directionless yet steadfastly determined to hold onto power at any cost, intolerance is increasingly being exhibited by those violently championing the cause of the ruling party in the face of a powerless law enforcement machinery that has consistently turned a blind eye to the violation of people’s rights.

A well-written, people-driven constitution would prevent such abuses from continuing. It is for this very reason that the PF seem determined not to enact a new one. They pretend to the nation and to the world that they want to prioritise development when the real reason for their resistance is that they want to hold onto power solely to benefit themselves and their supporters. They care little for who might be injured in the process.

While it may seem as though the situation is hopeless, all is not lost. There is a way – acting collectively – that we can reverse the undemocratic trend that has gripped our nation.

Through perfectly legal means, the people of Zambia can legitimately remove the obstacles standing in the way of a people-driven constitution and restore our journey towards tolerance, inclusiveness and a better life for all.

Without a new “people-driven” constitution, the exercise of political power – particularly under the PF – will continue to be deliberately  concentrated in the hands of the few.

Corruption and political violence will not be stamped out but will instead become more prevalent. Poverty and unrelenting hardships will continue to define the lives of the poor. The high cost of doing business will consistently hamper the growth of local entrepreneurs and drive away vital investment flows. Job creation will remain an empty promise.

Overcoming these unfortunate realities will require a new constitution. The procedure by which this can be achieved, even in the face of determined resistance from the PF, is set out in this blueprint entitled: “The Restoration of Zambian Democracy”.

The Basic Proposal

If the Plan works, it will unite opposition parties and other stakeholders to coordinate a mass movement of voters that will elect a neutral (i.e. non partisan) presidential candidate for a limited period of no more than 9 months. The primary responsibility of this person will be to usher in a new constitution and oversee the creation of a level political  playing field under which fresh and more inclusive elections can be held as soon as all the necessary measures are put in place.

In the absence of unity, a divided opposition could see the continuation of the system of abusive control and intimidation that has characterised the short period of governance by the PF.

The uniting of opposition parties and other stakeholders is not aimed solely at ejecting the PF from power but is intended to ensure that a new constitution will be enacted as quickly as possible and that fundamental rights will be protected in the run up to free and fair elections (which the PF would be expected to participate in if they so wished).

The Steps Required

The steps set out below are not intended to substitute but to complement ongoing efforts being undertaken by the Grand Coalition of civil society and political parties that was formed to secure the enactment of a people-driven constitution before the 2016 general elections.

However, given the means at the PF’s disposal to delay the enactment of a new constitution, this proposed approach essentially guarantees a final date by which a new constitution would be in place and will prevent the PF from continuing to abuse powers and terrorise citizens.

Step 1: Understand and agree the Plan

The Plan is based on the expectation that the PF will resist every attempt to force them to enact a new constitution prior to the 2016 general elections.

The objective of the Plan is to unite the nation towards electing a politically neutral interim president of Zambia for a limited period of no more than 9 months, who will serve with an equally neutral and competent cabinet to execute the following 5 point mandate:

1. Appoint a caretaker administration (including a vice president and ministers pre-approved by stakeholders) to manage the economy and ensure normal operations of government during the interim mandate period.

2. Finalise the constitution-making process and prepare for a national referendum and fresh elections within 9 months.

3. Amend all laws that have been used to undermine democratic freedoms to prevent them from being applied against political opposition and civil society (i.e. the Public Order Act, the NGO Act, the Penal Code and similar laws).

4. Appoint professional and politically neutral persons of stature to lead state institutions and law enforcement agencies that will protect democratic freedoms (i.e. Anti-Corruption Commission, Drug Enforcement Commission, Police Service and similar organisations).

5. Ensure continuous voter registration and make all necessary arrangements to conduct fresh general elections at the end of the interim mandate period under a new voters roll.

The interim president ushering in these changes should ideally be: (i) someone that is senior citizen with national stature and appeal; (ii) of independent financial means; (iii) non-partisan; and (iv) obligated and committed to steping down and declining to stand in the subsequent elections that would be conducted under the new constitution.

These terms and conditions would form part of a broad “Framework Agreement” between all participating stakeholders and would be published widely for purposes of national accountability.

The role of parliamentarians (who would be elected during the interim period to serve an interim mandate) will be to pass the necessary laws to support the Plan in accordance with the Framework Agreement and to enact an overall law that will ensure there are no delays or deviations to the Plan.

Step 2: Obtain written consensus on the Plan

All (or the majority of) stakeholders will need to agree the Plan in writing.
Stakeholders will include members of political parties as well as any sympathisers within the PF that have seen the error of their own leadership in denying the Zambian people a new constitution.

The devil will be in the detail so it is important that the mechanics of how the whole process will unfold be set out as fully as possible in the Framework Agreement (including naming the positions to be affected and identifying the candidates to be appointed).

Step 3: Implement the Plan

This will be the hard part and, again, will require the collective efforts of a majority of parliamentarians that will include members of the ruling party that are prepared to put country before narrow partisan or personal interests.

It is likely that the PF administration will do everything it can to intimidate stakeholders. Sound legal protection measures will therefore need to be in place in anticipation of any attempt by authorities to criminalise the Plan and it’s promoters.

Working committees (similar to those aligned to the Grand Coalition on the Enactment of a new Constitution) would be tasked with drawing up and agreeing the Framework Agreement and setting out a roadmap for implementation.

The costs associated with the Plan and how the funds would be raised and applied would need to be factored into the implementation roadmap.

If the country is for any reason required to hold an unscheduled presidential election, it may then even be possible to enact a new constitution before scheduled elections in 2016.

Conclusion

Let us not celebrate our forthcoming Jubilee in continued misery. Let us celebrate it in hope and with the same determination we were able to muster in uniting ourselves to defy and defeat

  • – colonialism in the run up to 1964
  • – one-party authoritarianism in 1991
  • – the attempt at a third term of governance in 2001
  • – and now the anarchy and tyranny of the PF years.

The plan to elect a politically neutral leadership for a limited period of time that will usher in a constitution that will stand the test of time can be the defining political contribution of our generation. We owe it to ourselves and to future generations to take every legitimate action to prevent continued violence, intimidation and financial misery from becoming a permanent feature of our social, political and economic landscape.

We ask all politicians and all political and non-political stakeholders to set aside partisan and personal interests. We ask them to support this Plan and negotiate and sign a comprehensive Framework Agreement that will usher in long overdue constitutional change in Zambia in order to liberate our people from poverty and the tyranny of excessive state power.

In the grand design of our nation’s history, implementing this Plan will be a major milestone for posterity and will demonstrate a unity of purpose that will define our future democratic credentials for the centuries that will follow our much cherished Jubilee. Let us not squander the opportunity to unite the nation around a cause that is greater than the aspirations of any one person or any one party.

If we remain united in this cause, all the armies in the world will not be able to stop an idea whose time has come.

Elias Chipimo
President
National Restoration Party
11 May 2014

Regards
NAREP Secretariat

70 COMMENTS

  1. To all disciples of Sata,,,,,,,,, please dont accuse President Chipimo of ´insulting` or planning to hijack Sata if you dont understand his press statement,,,,,,ask for help vi ka vuta,,,,,,
    because PF cadres are cursed with bumper ubufi like their master Sata

    • Looks like a good idea, but knowing selfishness in the Zambian political system, I am not sure this can work.

    • Elias’ plan is very dangerous, amounts to a formal coup d’état and can trigger civil strife. Coming from someone whose father said “THE multiparty system was the surest way of avoiding coups and eliminating the disgraceful tendency of presidents ending up with bullets in their heads” a few weeks before the 198o coup attempt, I would immediately arrest this man for proposing the removal of a lawfully-elected and constituted government.

    • You see, when thuggery, political intolerance and arrogance become the culture of a government the citizenry are left with no option but a ZERO OPTION. This is what it has come to in Zambia. We wasted our vote…….

    • You see, when thuggery, political intolerance and arrogance become the culture of a government the citizenry are left with no option but a ZERO OPTION. This is what it has come to in Zambia. We really wasted our vote…….

    • The proposal is a nonstarter, just a wishful thinking at best.

      There is no crisis, constitutional or otherwise to warrant an interim administration of any kind.

      Your proposal is a recipe for anarchy, it can only be entertained by a pack of power hungry wolves masquerading as saviours of sorts.

      sorry Elias, 2016 is around the corner, just hit the campaign trail and see how many votes you will gunner.

    • In sensible times with intelligent people this could work. Unfortunately none of those apply now.

      We have an absentee dictator with clique of appointees that are well aware that no other Government with any integrity would even ever consider giving these thugs and *****s jobs.

      So expect them to hang on for dear life, either by constitutional or illegal means. Our “acting” Chief Justice being the prime example.

      Sad to say, impeachment on the grounds of mental incapacity is the only legal option.

    • Ke ke ke ke ke ke…Rowan Atkinson and Julius Malema to make a pact? What Boka Haram?

      Let them keep on dreaming. Sata has six more years to rule. The we will be talking about Nawakwi, Magande, Mutesa and the likes of Milupi.

  2. that is chipimo. the thought is good but too ambitious. the selfishness in political leaders will get the best of this plan.

    the real question is why is chipimo calling for this. the answer lies in chipimo not been trusted by the zambian people. he has not won an election and now he is desperate, so desperate that he wants to overhaul the constitution.

  3. Mr. Chipimo, just for my own understanding, while I don’t appreciate the PF antics, how do we reconcile this proposal with the Constitution (however flawed) but considered to be the supreme law of the land? How do you usher in an interim President when the constitution makes no provision for such? The point is that the proposal requires a legal framework or at the very least a referendum by the entire country to agree to this proposal. Its ambitious but does not resolve the issue of too much power being vested in a single person. When an individual is appointed, who are they accountable to? What guarantee is there that the interim president will also not change the rules mid way through his 9 month tenure? Too much faith placed in an individual as opposed to institutions.

    • And Chipimo is a lawyer. Does it mean he was oblivious of the legal framework in our governance system? CONSTITUTION RULES!

  4. Just when you start considering this guy as the most mature opposition leader, he starts spewing nonsense Yaba!!!! I have no choice but to vote for PF at the nest elections.

  5. Mr Chipimo is a courageous man. Had this been said by HH, people like Mushota, Gen., Kudos and Haleisa Haleisa (whatever that means) would have been the first ones to insult and ridicule the man. Is HH more of a threat politically or is it because of his tribe as these people have always said?

    The above comment does not subtract from the fact that brother Chipimo is exercising his rights as an opposition party leader. As to whether the proposal is feasible is another matter. My view is that Mr Sata was elected to serve for 5 years and then judgement (elections). I would rather leave it that way. Let us not set a precedent of disrupting terms of offices. Even well-meaning parties and presidents may end up being hounded out of power thru mob psychology by influential bad elements.

    • Sata or PF will NOT step down willingly : if they’re allowed to continue, they will rig the next election – which will be set in bloodshed, as we have already seen.

    • @ let me say this….Munkmbwe is saying we will not allow fools to rule Zambia.

      So sad to know that you have so much hope in Julius Malema.

  6. Is there a plausible reason why the constitution has to undergo complete overhaul cycles instead of amendments? Why is it the responsibility of a sitting president to overhaul it anyway? Shouldn’t the law makers (parliament) be responsible for making the supreme law of this our land?

    • The one man controls everything and everyone – this is the problem – all going back to KK and UNIP!!!

  7. CHIPIMO ELIAS PLAN IS UN ATTAINABLE AND DAY DREAMING.
    THANKS FOR CHIPIMO’S BRAVERY. HIS VIEWS ARE WELL THOUGHT BUT THEY ARE ILLUSIONARY THOUGHT OUT. MY YOUNG BROTHER SHOULD KNOW THAT SATA MICHEAL IS ENJOYING HIS FIVE YEARS TERM. HENCE, EVEN IF HE AND HIS PF GOVERNMENT HAVE FAILED THEY WILL CONTINUE UNTIL 5 YEARS ENDS. WHAT I WOULD ENCOURAGE MY YOUR MAN CHIPIMO IS TO WORK TOGETHER WITH THE PROGRESSIVE OTHER OPPOSITION POLITICAL PARTY PRESIDENTS AND ALSO TO INVOLVE THE CHURH AND THE DONAR COMMUNITY LIKE THE USA AND BRITISH EMBASSIES , ETC, TO PRESURE SATA MICHEAL TO ALLOW FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY TO OPPOSITION POLITICAL PARTIES BECAUSE ONCE THIS IS DONE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA WILL BE EXPLAINED TO THE DECEITFULNESS OF THE PF. VIVA CHIPIMO, VIVA HH. AND WHRE IS GENERAL MIYANDA? VIVA PEOPLE…

    • The boy is working to unite the opposition. The boy is very dull yet more intelligent than UPND Julius Malema.

  8. Chipimo has a good head. His parents deserve kudos for imparting education and values to Junior Chipimo. PF zealots will call all kind of names but this is a fair proposal for all.

  9. This is a treason case Chipimo. Just because you can run away to America yourself you want us to start killing ourselves. I urgently propose that the police arrest this Guy. He probably want to accomplish what his father Chipimo and the late Musakanya failed to do to KK.
    Sata Please arrest this Chipimo chap. He is very useless.

  10. This is a treason case Chipimo. Just because you can run away to America yourself you want us to start killing ourselves. I urgently propose that the police arrest this Guy. He probably want to accomplish what his father Chipimo and the late Musakanya failed to do to KK.
    Sata Please arrest this Chipimo chap. He is very useless.

  11. How can a learned lawyer come up with a plan that borders on treason. What is happening to our lawyers? No wonder why LAZ is so pathetic. An interim president when there is a democratically elected one? Sata has only been in power for two and half years, can a sensible person surely expect him to undo all the rot and damage MMD left in the country? Opposition politics in Zambia stinks and that’s why intellectuals stay out. If you live in the diaspora and don’t visit Zambia and go by online news, you may think the country is on fire and yet people here are generally happy with the PF’s development projects even in opposition areas . If elections were to be held today, no doubt the PF would carry the day again because of a confused opposition.

  12. Dear Elias,
    I am really struggling to comprehend your plan. What came into your mind to think like this. Are you saying we dissolve parliament ? Fire the President and his cabinet?
    Fire all heads of institutions? Clear out all the judges? By what means are you going to do this and which legal frameworks are you going to use?
    Guys you had an opportunity to campaign in 2011 and appeal to the voters but they rejected you. Please do not bring in in draconian ways of getting into government. If you have seen weaknesses in PF , take advantage of those and decampaign them now for 2016. Do not bring chaos in the nation with these hopeless ideas meant to cause anarchy.

  13. @Kandy I agree with your first sentence only. I dont think Chipimo is desperate. However politicians should be realistic in their demands or suggestions. I don’t see anyone who tried three times, failed and then eventually got that sweet seat in State House suddenly waking up to say he is handing power over to an interim President for the sake of the constitution. That would require GREAT unselfishness. I don’t think any of our politicians possess that kind of unselfishness.

  14. What is this ka chap proposing? A coup. How do you usher in the interim president.
    It can only be done by a coup d’etat. Like father like son. Lock the ka chap for suggesting treason.

  15. Even under 5 has never come as close as suggesting on what borders on a coup d’etat.
    Iwe ka chi kamba why must you continue to bring our tribe into disrepute.

  16. Is there a crisis in our country? Even if there was one is the proposal by Elias Chipimo the best way to deal with a crisis? Supposing people subscribe to his thinking and think of coming up with an interim president, cabinet ministers and MPs, who will give these leaders the instruments of power? My humble advice to Chipimo is for him to just start selling himself by explaining his manifesto to the Zambian people and providing checks and balances in a positive way to the current leadership. 2016 is not far away. Chipimo’s proposal is tantamount to a bloodless coup which should not be condoned by any peace loving Zambian.

  17. Iam totally disappointed with chipimo! No vote from me! Let peace prevail in zambia! To hell with yr blood sheding plan!

  18. Chipimo says Sata is a Dictator, doesn’t want to listen to Opposition but he forgets that the very fact that he is able to call a Press Conference and announce some Treasonable plans , he goes home freely and later appears on Muvi Tv.
    without being surrounded and taken for. Aquestioning means he has too much Freedom. Infact, I feel Sata is a weak President who tolerates nonsense too much, if it was FTJ or KK. , Chipimo was going to be in a Cell. The other day , Uh had a Press Conference, Nevers was at Mwanawasa Hospital touring

  19. This is a practical solutions to mere rhetorics that if PF does not enact a new constitution, then we should vote them out. Brilliant idea Mr. President. I propose Reverend Matale to be amongst the possible candidate

  20. Mwanawasa or RB would have locked Sata up immediately for saying anything like this. Zambian government is not your school homework experiment little boy. “Junior” is the most indicative aspect of your name

  21. And glancing over his school homework I woner if you can characterize the PF’s “years” as “tyranny and anarchy”. Usually the two are mutually exclusive, i.e. you can have tyranny (dictatorship), or anarchy (no control). Not both at the same time.

    Try to study history and politics “junior”, it may reward you with some insight instead of yapping

  22. I find it difficult to relate this proposal to the provisions of the current constitution.
    However, when u read thru the proposals between the lines and then digest, compress and squeeze….what is coming out is a direct address to the Army chief to suspend the current constitution, ‘dissolve’ govt and appoint interim admin to sort out the constitution impasse….otherwise who else does Chipimo refer to as ‘politically neutral’ apart from the army..?? Where can u find an ordinary citizen who is neutral…???….even the Speaker or CJ are partisans…..

  23. That’s total crap coming from someone to be a president. There is no provision in the constitution for that theory in our land. Just an ideal if you wish so get enough MPs to impeach President Sata on mental health and the position will be vacuum for the speaker of house of assembly or supreme judge to take over and he can implement your wishes.

  24. Though sounds a good idea to get us of the current quagmire, WE A:LL CAN’T JUST WAKE UP & SAY SUSPEND THE CURRENT CONSTITUTION! The current govt will govern within the realms of the constitution & call for a Gen election as mandated – we have no inter-locutary clause which allows an interim govt – THE ONLY OPTION is to find the current govt or Presido wanting & move to IMPEACH either or both!

  25. Chi primo is a typical example of a Bemba mindset. If all Bembas presidents have proved to be useless, then no other president can do it. He just finds it very hard to believe that there are better candidates than him, like HH. HH will show all haters the meaning of having a founding father and hard working president.

    • @ Zagalo, what makes someone Bemba?

      Chipimo is more NYANJA than he can be anything. Just examine his thinking.

      You guys talk about your tribes yet you have never even been to the villages where you say you come from??

  26. Revolution, change is borne out of theoretical frameworks, Obama formulated his own framework based on the belief that “yeas we can” and he did. Question is can anyone be trusted to relinquish power, after tasting Chiluba’s “akapuna”. Perhaps men of integrity like late John Mwanakatwe. But do we have such men in political limelight in this country?

    Perhaps Elias should work hard to win 2016, so he can enact the constitution we desperately desire and deserve, and then step down for fresh elections under a new constitution which he should be allowed to contest as well. Goes for the other opposition leaders too.

    We asked Mwanawasa (MHSRIP) what would happen to the constitution making process once we have a bad president. Mwanawasa was good, but didn’t. And all it takes is a…

  27. Whatever he means, this is nonsense. His proposal amounts to coup de-dat. He should be arrested so that he explains what he means.

  28. Utopia…! On what constitutional provisions can this be done? We Would end up going round in circles, starting with amending the constitution (by which parliament?) to allow for the “neutral” president and ministers (who knows how long this may take?), etc, etc.. Pipe dream this!

  29. Its a shame that all of you blogging for Chipimo s arrest are all useless. Argue over his proposal. Zambians learn to reason and not just throwing stones. Listen to what Chipimo is saying. Anyway, its difficult to fish a poor man from his own poverty. You shall continue to languish in your collective misery.

    • @Vitality
      …my brother hold your fire…most bloggers are able to follow and see the logic…but the million dollar question is, HOW can u implement these proposal without crushing with the current supreme law of the land…???…Just prove and make yourself USEFUL by explaining in detail how u would go about implementing the said proposals as tabulated by your mentor. No doubt, a number of times in the recent past, Chipimo has articulated few issues very well, I’m afraid not on this one…on this article, he(Chipimo) has reviled to me that he is not just intelligent but TOO intelligent….

  30. Seriously, Mr Chipimo must be cited for treason. It is sad that his proposals are out of contest and must be dismissed with the contempt they deserve.

  31. The Zambian public is tired if being lied to by politicians. The majority of ordinary Zambians want a better life and this can only be guaranteed by a constitution that properly balances state power and ensures that people are not excluded from economic opportunities because they don’t belong to the ruling party. It is clear when one observes the behaviour of the mainstream politicians that they are likely to behave the same way as the PF by marginalising those that oppose them and seeking to settle scores.

    The plan being proposed by NAREP is a sure way of getting a new constitution – i.e. by uniting forces to elect an interim administration whose sole task will be to put such a constitution in place within 9 months and then calling for fresh elections.

    The PF have made it clear…

  32. CONT/D: The PF have made it clear that they will not usher in a new constitution. Any party that comes into power is likely to behave in the same way by dragging out the constitution-making debate or changing the draft clauses so that they favour a continued stay in power.

    It is only a party that wants to see itself in power that will reject the idea of working together to install a caretaker administration to usher in a new constitution.? It is this selfishness that has brought the stagnation in our d.emocracy that we are witnessing today.

    It is time to take the higher road that Elias Chipimo is proposing and put aside narrow partisan interests in order to restore Zambia’s democracy. It is time ?for patriotism.

    • Another one that fell from the same $tup!d tree as Elias! Clearly your strategy has failed and you are now resorting to desperate measures. Just sell yourselves to the electorate and try and win one or two seats, which going by the way you are doing things you will not.

  33. Just educate voters on how to cast their votes!! Zambians elected Sata inspite of his poor human rights record in successive govts. They need to pay for their poor choice and learn. The child falls many times before he learns how to walk. Just sail through the remaining three years without resorting to illegal tactics

  34. Elias aletushinga butter! Who can accept what he has suggested? Sata? Kwangala! His uncle can’t accept that n he knows that alelandafye to show us that he’s in opposition. It’s a dream!

  35. At one point I thought Elias Chipimo Jr was a brilliant young man, full of promise. But with this so-called ‘Blueprint’, I am beginning to think I was seriously wrong. As other bloggers have already said, just where is this sort of idea provided for legally? And I am told Elias is lawyer. Awe sure fye!!

  36. I agree with Elias only on one point. As Nevers said a few months ago, we need to call for early elections.

    My problem with Elias is that he has his head in the sky starting from his accent. He does not resonate with ordinary Zambians and needs to come down to earth.

    This country has a multi-party democary where many parties are allowed to compete for political office not trying to sneak in in a group when you realize that you have no following.

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