Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) President Dr. Nevers Mumba says he is very encouraged that both the American Government and the Patriotic Front Government have agreed with the MMD position on the Constitution-making process as stated during the Presidential Debate on 15th January 2015 at Mulungushi Conference Centre.
Dr. Mumba said that owing to the challenging imperatives related to costs, logistics and public sensitization in at least 150 constituencies, it is almost impossible to enact the current draft Constitution before the 2016 General Election because it contains amendments to the Bill of Rights which require a Referendum to be held first. The Bill of Rights can only be legally amended via a Referendum.
This is why the New Hope MMD holds the view that political parties that had promised to enact the new Constitution before the 2016 elections were either insincere or just ignorant of how Government functions. In a statement released on 21st January 2015 in which Dr. Mumba conceded electoral defeat, he said,
A referendum requires planning, logistics, funding and sensitization of the public in every district which is difficult to do in 18 months…. A more realistic, practical and result-oriented approach is the MMD position of immediately taking separate important bills to parliament in order to address the following issues before the 2016 elections:
- 50% + 1 electoral system
- Presidential running mate
- Reduction of the powers of the President
- Freedom of Information and improved press freedom
- The NGO Act
- Public Order Act
- Dual Citizenship
- Cabinet from outside Parliament
- Preventing parliamentary defectors from contesting seats for the life of the parliament they are in.
Dr. Mumba said the position of the party is to hold the referendum after the 2016 Elections to allow for proper planning and mobilization of all necessary resources.
On the size of government, Dr. Mumba said that he is concerned that rather than reducing the size of government especially in light of the escalating budget deficit, the government has maintained two deputy ministers in some ministries and has announced plans to split at least three ministries which shall result in additional costly appointments.
As stated in the MMD Ten Point Masterplan unveiled on 5th January 2015, the MMD proposed to reduce cabinet to 17 full ministers and only 27 deputy and provincial ministers, with one Permanent Secretary per ministry, all aimed at reducing the high cost of personal emoluments.