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
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