The Grand Coalition on the Campaign for a People Driven Constitution has urged all members of Parliament to discard the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2015 out of Parliament and demand the enactment of a new people driven constitution. In a statement made available to the media and signed by the chairperson Leonard Chiti, the Grand Coalition warned MPs, who will debate in support of a Bill that does not even guarantees the rights of their electorates,that they will be watched closely and promised to follow them in their constituencies.
Below is the full statement
The Grand Coalition on the Campaign for a People Driven Constitution notes with profound sadness that the PF Government has decided to disobey the voice of reason and logic that the Grand Coalition has been offering on the constitution making process.
The tabling of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2015 before the National Assembly of Zambia for debate and consequent amendments is a clear violation of the democratic practice in the constitution making process and also the PF own manifesto.
It is the conviction of the GC that Parliament has no power to give Zambians a new constitution which the PF government consistently promised them whilst in opposition and after being ushered into office.
It has become clearer now that the engagements that government purported to have undertaken through the ministry of Justice were purely window addressing engagements and consultations.
The minister of Justice had already a predetermined position of usurping the powers of the people to adopt their own constitution through a referendum.
Those who participated in these consultations can now attest that Government’s use of a parliament route to avert the new constitution was already hatched and solidly protected and the resultant constitution will be in the Image of PF government.
Clearly, the fact that President Lungu failed to meet stakeholders even after promising the UNDP representatives who visited him at State House that he was in the process of doing so, is testimony enough that this constitution route has led to the botched process.
The GC will not support any route that removes from Constitution and treats the Bill of Rights as a secondary matter.
This in our view destroys the very bedrock of Zambians’ existence. In this regard, we want to reiterate our long standing view that the parliamentary route of adopting a new constitution is treacherous and will not be supported by us and will not be part of any process that is trying to validate this treacherous route.
Those MPs who will debate in support of a Bill that does not even guarantees the rights of their electorates will be watched closely and GC promises to follow them in their constituencies.
In our effort not be abused and used by the Government on this process, the GC has decided to decline a request from the National Assembly of Zambia through the Committee on Legal, Gender and Human Rights to make submissions on the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2015.
We further instruct all our member constituents not to validate a fraud process but to encourage MPs to debate not to debate the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2015.
Our appeal is extended to all stakeholders earmarked to be invited to this committee TO DECLINE appearance so as not to legitimize this process.
Finally, we urge all MPs to discard the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2015 out of Parliament and demand the enactment of a new people driven constitution.
Issued by: Fr. Leonard Chiti
Chairperson of the Grand Coalition
Grand Coalition on the Campaign for a People Driven Constitution in Zambia