Political scientist Mbita Chitala says attempts by the executive to stop citizens from accessing the Draft Constitution are provocative.
Commenting on the standoff between the Technical Committee on the Constitution and the Executive that has seen Justice Minister order the committee to print only 10 copies, Chitala said the exercise risked being futile if Zambia stuck to the failed route of African Presidentialism.
Chitala, a former campaigner for the Patriotic Front, has joined the list of heavies that have jumped off the boat citing a poor governance record.
“Attempts to stop citizens from accessing the work of the Technical Committee on the Constitution contrary to the consensus that was earlier arrived at, may be unnecessarily provocative,” Chitala said via social network medium.
“The advisable route should be to have the committee present their findings to both the Executive and the people simultaneously and quickly subject their recommendations to a referendum.”
He said, “The referendum will contain several questions where there was no consensus to which people will be asked to take a position. During the referendum campaign, all citizens will have chance to give their opinions on the several questions so asked and finally vote in accordance with the law and their conscience.”
He said the executive’s duty would be to facilitate the process.
“The Executive’s role now should be to facilitate this process by budgeting for and appointing a Referendum Commission to administer the process. It should not be to subvert the process. In 1996, we went to court to stop President Chiluba from enacting a bad discriminatory constitution. He refused to listen and this question remained unsolved,” Chitala said.
“President Mwanawasa failed to resolve the question too during his first term as he had promised. President Banda also failed to give us a constitution as it was opposed by many people including the PF. “
“Unless we do not depart from the politics of African Presidentialism and adhere to a democratic consensus reaching process, this latest exercise will be another futile, wasteful and provocative project that has the danger of unnecessarily dividing our people.”