Political activist Mbita Chitala says the Young African leader’s Initiative (YALI) proposal to have a referendum on the new constitution alongside the 2016 elections is misguided.
Dr. Chitala says this is because despite the civil society organization being entitled to make its own opinion its proposed roadmap on the country’s constitution has fallen out of what a majority of the people in the country want.
He has told Qfm news in an interview that what YALI should instead do is to come back to the fold and continue with all stakeholders that are calling for the country’s constitution to be enactment without any further delay.
Dr. Chitala says the issue of enacting the new constitution must not be delayed further as the processing of coming up with the country’s supreme law has already attracted unnecessary costs.
He says any further delays on the issue of the constitution will only make it more destabilizing and unnecessary.
The political activist notes that this is why he holds the position that YALI is misguided and did not give it much thought when they chose to come up with a proposal that may further prolong the process of enacting the country’s new constitution.
He has suggested that what should happen now is for the nation to prioritize the issue of enacting a new constitution especially that the current constitution is one that represents a one party state where the country’s Head of State is left with too much power.
And YALI governance advisor Isaac Mwanza has told Qfm news that by proposing its roadmap, his organization does not it mean it has intention of imposing its roadmap on Zambia’s constitutional reform or any stakeholder in the current constitution making process.
Mr. Mwanza says, being one of the stakeholders in the constitution making process, his organization believes that it has every right to propose a constitutional roadmap, especially at a time when government has appeared to be hesitant to come up with a roadmap to guide the process.
He says his organization further believes that all stakeholders must engage in the process of coming up with the final roadmap and that if its proposed roadmap is able to kick-start this process, YALI will be happy to continue working with all stakeholders in delivering a Constitution that all Zambians will be proud of.
The YALI governance advisor also notes that his organization views the work of the Grand Coalition in pressing government to release the Draft Constitution and provide a roadmap as essential towards making the ruling Patriotic Front fulfill its promise to enact a of enacting the new Constitution of Zambia.
He however says YALI’s participation in the Coalition does not entail that his organization has surrendered its independence to make decisions or engage with both the opposition and government in finding a way forward on the issue of the constitution.
Mr. Mwansa adds that YALI attaches greater urgency to the enactment of the new Constitution and that if there are any means it can come up with a new constitution before 2016 that takes into account concerns of all stakeholders, his organization will be pleased to be part of such a process.
He says his organization does not however wants to see a process that will end up failing in Parliament as the case was in March 2011 during the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) era.
Mr. Mwanza says this is why his organization is thus challenging other stakeholders to help government by providing an alternative roadmap which can be agreeable to all stakeholders and that YALI stands ready to examine any such proposal and support it if it’s attainable in the shorter term.