The Non Governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has said that it is vehemently opposed to what it described as the proposed mutilation of the Republican Constitution by the Patriotic Front (PF) by their intended extension of the Presidential term from five (5) years to seven (7) years.
In a statement released to the media and signed by NGOCC Executive Director, Engwase Mwale, the organisation appealed to President Edgar Lungu to defend the constitution which he swore to defend by curtailing any further debate about what they called the dim and unprogressive proposal.
NGOCC also appealed to well-meaning Members of Parliament to oppose this motion if at all it should find itself on the floor of the House.
Below is the full statement
NGOCC OPPOSED TO PF EXTENSION OF PRESIDENTIAL TERM
The Non Governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) is vehemently opposed to the proposed mutilation of the Republican Constitution by the Patriotic Front (PF) by their intended extension of the Presidential term from five (5) years to seven (7) years.
The proposal by the PF national management committee member, Mr. Paul Moonga to extend the Presidential term, is the highest display of arrogance by the named, being one of the senior members of the ruling party. It is becoming abundantly clear that the PF are fast losing touch with the grassroots, who are the electorates and not helping with the process of healing the current tension grappling the nation.
It is abundantly clear that the just ended August 2016 elections was highly divisive and it is therefore NGOCC’s expectation that President Edgar Chagwa Lungu should not tolerate such a pronouncement which runs against the moral aspirations of our nation and indeed the very spirit of the constitution that our leaders swore to uphold.
By any standard there is no justification whatsoever for the proposed extension. The reasons advanced by one PF national management committee member for the extension seem to be a sign that PF government is already failing to deliver on their promises within the five year constitutional mandate that has been charged to them by the people of Zambia.
While progressive countries are working to reduce Presidential terms of office, Zambia seems to be fast sliding back to the dark ages of unconstitutionalism. NGOCC therefore calls upon Zambians to stand in unison and oppose this proposed extension forthwith. The United States of America President Barack Obama said when asked whether he would seek a third term, “This is a process in which the office should be continually renewed by new energy and new ideas and new insights” NGOCC is in agreement with the said sentiments as we strongly believe in the spirit of enhancing our democracy. In this regard we contend that there is need for the Presidency to regularly evolve in order to allow for rejuvenation of ideas and for new leadership to emerge.
We thus appeal to President Lungu to defend the constitution which he swore to defend by curtailing any further debate about this dim and unprogressive proposal. We also appeal to well-meaning Members of Parliament to oppose this motion if at all it should find itself on the floor of the House.
As a key stakeholder to matters of governance, NGOCC stands ready to contribute and add its perspectives to marshalling voices of reason around this matter. We believe Zambia’s democratic dispensation is still finding its feet and hence requires to be safeguarded by all well-meaning citizens..
Engwase B. Mwale