The merry go round of constitution making in Zambia

By Brig Gen Godfrey Miyanda – 9th April 2013

Zambians are habitually good at shooting themselves in the foot. When they identify that something is wrong or not backed by law, they nevertheless go ahead to support, promote and/or contribute to the same wrong thing! Just now there is a second circus that has been going on for some time now, unjustifiably gobbling up billions of Kwacha, in the name of writing the so-called new constitution without legal backing.

When we first used the term “Tower of Babel” against the fallen NCC we were roundly condemned. Later that NCC (the First Twin) died in the manner we had predicted, in the process leaving behind its twin sister, whose name is still not yet clear. The Second Twin Sister was first named “Committee of Experts” by the President but did not seem to have any experts in the name of draftsmen. The President also appointed three Catholic Bishops to sit on the committee, but they did not accept, confirming that ZEC were never consulted. No enabling Act with defined terms of reference was promulgated. Many citizens and civil society organisations, including Transparency International, cried foul but are now quiet.

The Government has to date not indicated under which law the creature came into existence. Previous ones used to be under the Inquiries Act which civil society condemned. But today there is not even the Inquiries Act or any other provision of the law – it is ‘Donchi Kubeba’ all over again. The persons sitting on this Committee later dubiously claimed that they were created under “Article 44” even though the President never indicated so.

When the President announced the establishment of this so-called “Committee of Experts”, he did NOT state under which law he had done that. Further he included a Cabinet Minister, the then Minister of Justice Hon Sebastian Zulu. Justifying the inclusion of the Minister, he stated that this would make it easier for the Committee to resolve problems that may arise in the course of their assignment since Minister Zulu who had direct access to the President would revert to him. This obviously meant that the President would be kept up to date on what was going on (was he a secret member of the committee?) No wonder the President always condemned the contents of reports being presented to him even BEFORE he had read them. He knew in advance what was in a report that had not yet been presented to him! Now we are told the Silungwe Committee will take their report to the President; under which provision? At least the NCC was created under an Act of Parliament, the NCC Act. What is our issue? It is that without an enabling law we, the People, remain at the mercy of the Executive to decide as they please.

I recall attending the last public meeting of the Committee at the Government Complex sometime in April 2012. The committee was about to embark on their paper trail of expensive but unjustified tours of the hinterland. Since there was no proper or legal definition, I asked them two questions: how were they going to decide who attends the regional meetings that they were embarking on? How will they decide which submissions to accept after the people have submitted? The Chairman, His Lordship Mr Justice Annel Silungwe, categorically stated that they would not allow new submissions but only comments. He avoided the second question. We ask this question again: how will the Committee decide which submissions or even comments to accept or not accept? What is their mandate to do so? Why should a Committee that was tasked to use existing materials decide to conduct their own plebiscite after the failed NCC fiasco? Is the President obliged to follow the recommendations that will be submitted by this irregular Committee? One of the Members of this Committee, Mr Kabanda, popularised the maxim “process protects content”. What law is his committee following?

A government of laws and not of men means one that respects and observes the law at all stages of an undertaking such as the constitution-making process. We are convinced that Zambians will once again be taken for a ride. With the routine poaching of opposition MPs, promoted by the President himself, the numbers in the National Assembly are daily being manipulated and inflated in favour of the Executive with no legal safeguards. Fellow Zambians, the writing is on the wall; do not come and say that we did not ‘kubeba’ you!





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49 Responses to "The merry go round of constitution making in Zambia"

  1. Black Mist   April 11, 2013 at 20:28

    The voices against illegalities in the constitution process must rise to deafening crescendo. The process of constitution making is too important and sacred to be left to the whims fallible men and women with parochil interests to protect. This process is an illegality and so will be its outcome. Tell us the law underpinnig the process or their shall be another legitimate process in due course. We shall keep on trying until we get it legally and democatically right. Meanwhile the General is invited to lead the onslaught against this illegality. General we are not asleep. What we lack are brave and knowledgeable leaders. The gauntlet has been thrown.

  2. Blago   April 11, 2013 at 18:39

    There is no way a country that has been turned into a failed State by Sata and his group of retards can come up with a sensible constitution. Keep dreaming!

  3. Chivunda Samusungwa   April 11, 2013 at 15:04

    The Zambian people should retain the right to reject a new constitution which may be doctored by Michael Sata and his PF.We hope the final document which will be handed to Sata won’t be altered to suit Sata’s political agenda because,if he does so,that will signal the end of PF.Sata should be reminded that he is a minority president,therefore he cannot claim to be acting on behalf of all the Zambians.
    Gen Miyanda and other genuine opposition leaders must be on the lookout for PF machinations to hoodwink us.

    Chivunda Samusungwa.

  4. Patriotic citizen   April 11, 2013 at 14:44

    General Miyanda is an armchair critic who always waits for that campaign money on which he survives.
    Data is a doer no wonder he is a factor!

    • MB   April 11, 2013 at 16:27

      Unfortunately, “Patriotic Citizen” like you will always shoot themselves in the foot! You will have done well to read the message than shoot the messenger. Gen Miyanda is asking us pertinent questions leading up to the constitution timeline and implementation. What has that got to do with campaign money?

    • Black Mist   April 11, 2013 at 20:38

      Oh come on! Armchair critics just speak, sometimes even nonsense. The General doesnt just speak. He speaks with substance and points you in a certain direction, the right direction dear friend. So just listen carefully and attentively.

  5. Brainiac   April 11, 2013 at 13:23

    UNIP stopped listening….MMD came about. MMD stopped listening….then came PF. Is PF listening to the people?

  6. wellington   April 11, 2013 at 12:37

    Every Zambian must be deeply concerned and it is not a joke. This implys that not only is money being wasted in our clear view but realisticaly and more seriously, we will not have moved an inch since PF came into power. They should be held accountable should they fail because they have all the advise and it is FREE

    Long live Gen.

    • Zo-ona Ndithu   April 11, 2013 at 21:14


  7. Simba   April 11, 2013 at 12:22

    There is no wisdom better than this,timely and exact. Next move please?

  8. Tito Kapalu   April 11, 2013 at 12:14

    General Miyanda is a very principled man, who would make a good leader, unfortunately he doesnt have the street language and appeal you need to win elections that MCS has or FTJ had.

  9. emmanuel   April 11, 2013 at 11:38


  10. ukwas friend.   April 11, 2013 at 10:40

    Ba general pliz! its time you started acting and not just tolk and tolk from your rocking chair.

  11. hk   April 11, 2013 at 10:22

    Miyanda speaks sense atleast he his better than the motivation speaker Elias chipimo.

    • Suggestor   April 11, 2013 at 16:33

      You ve cracked my ribs

  12. Jeffy   April 11, 2013 at 10:18

    The aim is to completely finish the money MMD left, just like they did with oil and maize. It’s MMD’s legacy PF wants to wipe out. Waste the money on meaningless inquiries including the constitution. They don’t care, after all they never labored for it.

    Watch this page, this country will be in debt in Billions of Dollars (foreign debt)by 2016. Reading from the 2013 budget, just between 23 Sep and 31 Dec 2011, US$300 Million of our reserve account was used (MMD’s bal US$2.6 Billion reduced to US$2.3 Billion), and claimed they brought it back to US$2.6 Billion by 31 Dec 2012. Let us have access to the information. Definitely, we are already in negative figure(in our reserve account).

    • Bimbo   April 11, 2013 at 21:02

      True. Pf has done nothing to replenish the coffers, just spent irresponsibly what they inherited from the previous government!

      They will bankrupt Zambia and take us back to UNIP days of queuing for cooking oil!

  13. Joe Johnson   April 11, 2013 at 10:11

    Well spoken General. But the question is, will this message penetrate into Ukwa’s thick head?

  14. Jeffy   April 11, 2013 at 10:01

    If we voted for ‘Donchi kubeba’, who are we not to be taken for a ride? What information or election promise is in ‘Donchi kubeba’? Can a normal human being vote for some one on a vague promise of ‘Donchi kubeba?

    This is the calibre of 2011 Zambia’s 8% population (43% of total voters), and those who continue to Donchi kubeba in by-elections.

    ‘Donchi kubeba’ means ‘cheat them.’ Them, who? The electorates of course. We are blind fools.

  15. Mfumu   April 11, 2013 at 09:34

    Exactly! That was my question a few publications ago on the 50%+1 when I asked what the process would be in aggregating the submissions made from districts and provinces as some provinces had divergent submissions on certain issues. I asked whether this would be done on a mathematical average basis i.e. if more provinces had agreed to include say dual nationality or there was a committee (or President) that would have the final say? These questions and many more should have been made clear at the outset and not to be decided at the time of crossing the bridge. Would one be wrong to feel such questions are being avoided to allow latitude for the executive to have a final input to the process to suit some interested parties?

  16. mukuwe   April 11, 2013 at 09:20


  17. Santiago   April 11, 2013 at 09:18

    Is the clause “Zambia is a Christian Nation” Still Standing in the preamble of this Constitution by PF ?????????????????

    I ask because I heard few Demons suggesting that it should be removed from the constitution !

    • eagle's eye   April 11, 2013 at 09:31

      the Catholics don’t want it and now you have a Catholic president..Don’t Kubeba

  18. Namusunga   April 11, 2013 at 09:15

    General miyanda raised issues which Lawyer John Sangwa also raised from the time the committee was put place.He was on radio phnix talking about the same issue.There will be no referundum it is cabinet which will adopt the constitution they will remove controvential issues and rush it to parliament to have enacted since by that time they will have more MPs.In zimbabwe and kenya it worked well because the major political players agreed to what contained in their constitutions after that the people said yes thru a referundum.In Zambia it wont be like that there is no oposition party that will strongly opose president as such even if this constitution is subjected to a referundum still people will vote yes for something which they dont like.We Zambians we shall always used like toilet tissu.

  19. Vintuli Namumba   April 11, 2013 at 09:05

    It will be good to hear the president ague his side of the story.Unfortunately politicians have a way of persuading the masses.The same tactics Sata used whilst in oppostion and yet when he was elected,he did the excact opposite or nothing at all.
    What the general should be telling us is how he would have done things differently had he been the one in charge.How would he have conducted
    this maasive task of drafting the constitution given the number of failures associated with it so far.
    It is of no use to just condemn. Tell us point by point what you would have done if you were in charge,and maybe the excultive can pick one or two points from you. that`s what you you call meaningful contribution.

    • PF Yosila   April 11, 2013 at 09:55

      @ Vintuli Namumba please learn to read issues as they are presented. He has raised issues concerning the Law under which the Committee has been appointed, also under which law is the constitution being drafted? If the constitution making process is not being backed by any law how is it going to be adopted? Are we not being insane by doing the same thing over and over again expecting to get a different result? Please let us not always see the negative in people just because we have to be on the right side with government. The President would have done a simple thing. Inform the public that the so called committee of Expats is operating under this or that Law. Give everything that we do a legal framework so that illegality is not encouraged. An illegal process will produce a bad constitution. sooner or later we the people of Zambia will be redoing the same thing, CHANGING the CONSTITUTION! It is ridiculous!

      • eagle's eye   April 11, 2013 at 09:58

        well simplified. i hope it will get into his thick head

      • ICEBERG   April 11, 2013 at 10:21

        Good job sir.I truly hope our brother has gotten it.

      • critic   April 11, 2013 at 15:57

        I hope the fool has assimilated your point. He should learn to pay attention to detail. The general is 100% right.

  20. Luba_Lunda   April 11, 2013 at 09:03

    As for me, I am afraid ba General is not competent to discuss about the constitutional making process. Although his comments are indeed refreshing, we know how the MMD government dealt with the constitutional making process when the General was a minister. A complete opposite of what the people wanted! It seems our politicians are only wiser when in the opposition.

  21. Original   April 11, 2013 at 09:00

    General you are great but Zambians cannot evaluate you properly

  22. So Sad!!   April 11, 2013 at 08:48

    50 + 1 will be thrown OUT !!!

    • everlasting joy   April 11, 2013 at 12:00

      yes, if not it will mark the downfall of PF

  23. SADI   April 11, 2013 at 08:45

    An intelligent person has spoken.Please hear him

  24. the racist   April 11, 2013 at 08:45

    Indeed miyanda is a good leader but i dont realy understand his stance in the
    political arena.

  25. SADI   April 11, 2013 at 08:44

    An intelligent person has person has spoken.Please hear him

  26. Max   April 11, 2013 at 08:35

    The General is always refreshing

  27. Real Patriot   April 11, 2013 at 08:29

    These are definitely wise words from a man of God Brig. Miyanda.

    Why cant we entrust leadership of this nations into this man’s hands. He has always been consistent and above all he is God fearing.
    Mwebantu let us think through this…..

  28. kuku bwalya   April 11, 2013 at 08:22

    This are very good observations General Miyanda but the problems with zambian politicians they want to work alone. Why don’t you join together as oppostion parties and have one voice. But the problem is Mumba wants be president, HH wants to be president, miyanda wants to be president, milupi and chipima wants to be president even mulongoti who have never won any election including as a councillor wants to be president!!!!!! Selfishness from all angles

    • eagle's eye   April 11, 2013 at 09:23

      even Sata who has never held a party convention to elect the P.F leadership for 10 years.

    • PF Yosila   April 11, 2013 at 10:04

      Just have your ambitions fulfilled. If you want to become a President also just try your luck. Nothing wrong in everyone desiring to be a President. Even me I want to only that I dont have the means. There is no Law which says only a certain number of people should aspire to be Presidents. Everyone is free to aspire. Understand Multi Party Politics. Also learn to travel and observe how other Countries run their affairs. If you cant travel, read!

  29. JAP   April 11, 2013 at 08:21

    This is a focussed leader speaking. Zambians must entrust plot one to this man.

  30. The Analyst from Tokyo   April 11, 2013 at 08:19

    MIYANDA same thinking always.Read public mood.Thats why your party cant grow.

    • eagle's eye   April 11, 2013 at 09:21

      Read through his thinking. you are obviously a P.F retard. no analytical power whatsoever..

  31. Cilibbebbede   April 11, 2013 at 08:18

    Br. Gen. GM, ever so analytical and intelligent like the calculative war-planner soldier that he is.

  32. black poho   April 11, 2013 at 08:14

    We as Barotselanders we don’t care whatever is happening in Northern Rhodesia because they do not concern us its up to you to nurse your own baby. bye bye unitary state bye bye Zambia.

    • Nyengist   April 11, 2013 at 09:17

      Then dont comment and just shut up! concetrate on eating fish and sand there dirty lozi!

      • Kay Love   April 11, 2013 at 11:35

        He is entitled to his opinion and has that human right to say so.
        You also entitled to have this belittling alias name of “Nyengist” and wonder about its meaning? So, let him express himself as he wishes.

  33. LPM   April 11, 2013 at 08:11