I am one of the many citizens who supported the ‘piece meal’ amendment of the Constitution as long as the amendments were as presented in the Draft Constitution. Before the President assented to the Constitutional Bill, a few lone voices raised various concerns. One such concern was by General Godfrey Miyanda.
General Miyanda was concerned that the President had declared that he would sign the Bill “with eyes closed” The general stated:
As you may be aware, Your Excellency, it is NEITHER AUTOMATIC NOR MANDATORY for you to assent to a Bill in the form it has been conveyed to you. The process requires careful examination and even consultation before assenting. Appending the Presidential signature completes the act of enactment! I appeal that you revisit your decision to sign with closed eyes, meaning without serious examination of the contents and/or even complaints. It is a serious and solemn constitutional duty for you to undertake with all your faculties at full throttle (Lusaka Times, 23rd December, 2013).
Most likely the President ignored this friendly and sober advice. Now, Cabinet intends to revisit the same Constitution President Lungu assented to before it is even in force. What a circus!
This is ill-timed and mischievous and is not well-meaning because the PF had the opportunity to address all the issues they want to raise now. It looks like this call to revisit the Constitution is just for the PF’s survival (Grade 12 Qualification issue).
I urge the PF leadership to be careful as they revisit the Constitution. Once again, bravo to General Miyanda for continuously being a voice of reason.
By Eros Ilunga