Leonard Chiti
Leonard Chiti

The Grand Coalition on the Campaign for a People Driven Constitution in Zambia has said that it is opposed to the plans by the government to take piecemeal amendments to parliament when the National Assembly resumes on 2nd June 2015.

In a statement released to the media today and signed by Fr. Leonard Chiti , the Grand Coalition said that it is against the against a patchwork approach to the constitution because that is against the expectations of the people of Zambia.

Below is the full statement

PRESS STATEMENT

For Immediate Release

Lusaka, 08 May, 2015

Grand Coalition insists on people driven constitution making process

The Grand Coalition on the Campaign for a People Driven Constitution in Zambia is aware of the plans by the government to take piecemeal amendments to parliament when the National Assembly resumes on 2nd June 2015.

The Grand Coalition is against a patchwork approach to the constitution because that is against the expectations of the people of Zambia. Our position is that the people of Zambia must drive this process so that we get a new constitution that will stand the test of time. And the only way of achieving this is by allowing the people of Zambia to adopt the constitution through a national referendum.

We are also aware, and very concerned, that there is currently no law in Zambia that protects the content of the draft constitution. In our view, the only way of protecting the content is to take the draft to a national a referendum.

We are wondering how the government wants to take the process to Parliament without any legal framework. That clearly undermines the authority of the people of Zambia in this very important matter. If the government has a conscience, there is no way they can bulldoze their way against the will and expectations of the people of Zambia, who continue to bear the brunt of the current faulty constitution.

We are going to work with our partners in Parliament to resist attempts by the government to take the bill to the National Assembly. We insist that the government must first put in place a law that protects the content, before taking the constitution to Parliament. We call upon all Honourable Members of Parliament to resist any attempts to bring the constitution to parliament without a law to protect the content.

It is amazing that the Patriotic Front Government are even going against their own manifesto. In case they have even forgotten what they promised the people of Zambia, section 22 (Page 42) of its manifesto for 2011 to 2016, the Patriotic Front clearly commits to “a new Constitution that reflects the will and aspirations of the people, and which could stand the test of time”.

The PF, in their own words, stated that failed processes by previous governments were “a sheer waste of scarce resources that could have been applied to meaningful national development … nothing but a betrayal of the Zambian people”. We agree with the PF that because of the current faulty constitution “the rule of law, social justice and the justice delivery system have been compromised”, and that the only way for redress is a “a constitution which will reflect the will and aspirations of the people for submission to a referendum and subsequent enactment only, by the National Assembly”.

We wish to remind the government that this constitution is not their private document, but it is the supreme law of this country which must represent the views of all Zambians. We will therefore resist every attempt by the government to make it appear like they would be doing any of us a favour by letting the constitution go for a referendum.

Like we have said before, we believe the only stumbling block to a people driven constitution is lack of political will and a disrespect of the people of Zambia by the government.

The Grand Coalition has also noted some recent hullaballoo in some quarters regarding some of our members’ political affiliation. We will not dignify some of this mischief by responding to it. These are clearly efforts to sway us and derail our focus. We will not fall into that trap.
We are campaigning for a new people driven constitution, adopted through a national referendum.

For /THE GRAND COALITION

Fr. Leonard Chiti
CHAIRPERSON

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18 COMMENTS

  1. The constitution is very important to any country and this is the more reason there should be no compromise in its adoption. The Grand Coalition is on course by prodding the PF government to honour its pledge of giving the people of Zambia a constitution that meets their aspirations. The people themselves must adopt the constitution and not the other way round. There are no contentious or non-contentious issues in the draft constitution because the people themselves submitted what they wanted. So, how can the PF determine what is contentious and what is not? On what basis are they doing this? The submissions were from the people and no political party has a right to start classifying the clauses in the draft constitution. We don’t want manipulation. We are ready to fight for what is right

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    • so the grand coalition is not necessarily against taking non-contentious issues to parliament as long as there is a legal framework.

      Then, we can have a referendum next year alongside the general elections to look at contentious issues such as the Bill of rights and after that we will have a people driven constitution.

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  2. When pf lose in 2016 ,they will start advocating for
    Constitution to be adopted thru a referedum its all about maintaining the loopholes for thieft.all the money wasted on by elections wud hav been more than enough for referedum.zambian politicians lack political will of serving the pipo but only hungry for power.

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  3. Mr Chiti help govt to find the money for the referendum. lets be offering solutions to the problem and not just oppose without tangible alternatives. where is the money for the referendum to be held? do we have any donor for that process to be done

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    • Where have you been sir/madam? The delaying tactics have been deliberate so that the time frame nears the 2016 elections and give excuses that the time frame to carry out both exercises would be too expensive. This is exactly their argument.
      Money was not an issue. Partner countries were ready to fund the referendum, unfortunately the window of opportunity is closing.

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  4. What if we go through referendum and fail to meet the required numbers. Look here folks no I a is against the referendum but one thing you should know is that there is a serious risk to to put money where we all know that it’s going to waste. Zambia will lose and grand coalition will gain because they will just share the allowances bakengile napachani.

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  5. People have you seen that Fr. Chiti is allowance hungry? Now days even priests have become materialistic.

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  6. The grand coalition is right. We need the constitution to give us rights and development, reduce unnecessary expenditure and give power to the people. I wonder how someone who is a patriotic Zambian can be against the constitution.

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  7. Father Chiti and your grand coalition, You can keep barking while we proceed with amendments. We will come and throw some more bones at you on our way back from parliament.

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  8. Fellow citizens let us move away from unwieldy processes that have simply perpetuated theft of our tax base under the pretext of working at something. What do we have lawmakers for if we are going to run Grand Coalitions and sham tribunals to enact laws? Enough is enough. Let the so-called Grand Coalition tell us what it is about patch work that will THEIR point in the first place. How can you vividly steal from your nation like this and still have the face to demand for more? This is all it is about: MORE sittings, MORE allowances, MORE duplicity!!! ENOUGH!!!

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  9. Simply because GREED has been allowed to become acceptable chaps like Fr Chiti will try and milk their sponsors at the expense of progress.

    If these Churches and NGO’s have such strong political views they might be well advised our democracy is alive and well. All they need to do is form a party and stand for election, then let the electorate decide if they are right on the issues they raise. They should not use their religious position to publicly influence politics.

    Out of interest, not sure, but do they pay taxes?

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  10. Let us all Zambians be concerned with the suffering masses in the country and not just support everything because you are a party supporter. Better to spend money for referendum inorder to save higher costs due to the current constitution being bad.

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  11. What type of God does this Ka father Chiti worship kanshi…? Every time, opposing this, opposing that government, bra, bra!

    Just go and marry those tuma girl friends of yours! Ati father, my fooot!!!

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  12. Constituional lawyers have a duty to take up this matter in courts of law. The Grand Coalition is also on solid gorund. The GC is sharing the limelight with UPND on this issue. If certain PF officials insist on making numerous amendments using Parliament at the expense of direct democracy of Referendum, then PF would be circumventing the Constitutional order in the country. What is needed is a win-win situation for Democracy, Good Governance and the Rule of Law in the country.

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  13. This Grand fimo fimo up to no good surely everyone can see that there is not enough time to do a referendum between now and next election. if they are against taking some clauses to parliament then lets wait until after the election next year!!!!

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  14. The final document will be adopted through referendum. What is agreed is that non-contentious issues can be adopted in parliament whereas contentious ones by referendum. The content of the constitution will not change from what Zambians want. So Father Chiti,where is the problem. The difference is the route to attain same constitution with same content. Route advocated by GC is costly and USA has made it clear that they will not sponsor the route GC is advocating. Father Chiti for once be sincere and give this process a chance as the government has shown sincerity. While it is true that political parties that have supported government have no numbers to argue for they are speaking for but even the GC cannot claim that they are speaking for majority of Zambians. Sincerity finito.

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  15. The true representation of zambians is actually in the parliament building it self where GC is not and doesn’t have a following. Now which zambians are you claiming that you are representing.

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    • My friend these NGOs are money hunters. Thirsty for money. Especially this so called Grand Coalition. First this ngo only lobbies from the markets forcing the poor people to match in streets and so forth. All they want is to get a share of the budgeted money of the referendum. That’s so there is all this noise. They are the kabimbas who would wish the constitution is still debated continuously forever just for their allowances.
      PF is the only party for real development in Zambia. They (PF Government) wants the clauses that matter be dealt with urgently so that come 2016 the clauses apply. Coz there is no money for a referendum
      This NGO can’t take it coz upnd says so. Let them start demonstrations and see that it won’t work. Parliament will do the right thing conclusively and Amen…

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