OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATION
SUNDAY CHANDA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
A NEW CONSTITUTION BY WAY OF REFERENDUM A MUST
We wish to call on President Michael Sata to ensure that a people-driven constitution, by way of a referendum becomes part of his legacy and that of his Government.
It is an open secret that successive Presidents have failed on this matter because of their insecurities and contempt for the wishes of the majority Zambians.
Successive Governments have betrayed and dribbled Zambians on the constitution and we urge that such history must not repeat itself in this time and age.
The best gift President Sata and the PF Government can give to the Zambian people as we march towards 50 years of Independence celebrations is to guarantee that a new constitution through a referendum, with a referendum committee being put in place.
PF Government must therefore avoid the same trappings of power and insecurity that sabotaged past attempts at giving ourselves a good constitution. Zambia has come of age and will not fall for anything that takes away this opportunity to give to themselves a constitution that represents their wishes and aspirations.
OSF is concerned that His Honour the Republican Vice President Dr. Guy Scott was not candid enough when he stated that the 10 copies are required for ceremonial purposes.
The Vice President will help Zambians by being categorical on which ceremonial activities he was making reference to and what incremental value they bring to the constitution-making process.
What is the context of these same ceremonial purposes the Vice President referred to and do Zambians have the time for such?
OSF is calling on Government to ensure they provide a transparent constitution-making process without any interference whatsoever. Government needs to ensure it builds citizen-consensus and citizen-confidence in this process.
It is common knowledge that the scope of the draft constitution and modalities for its adoption cannot be forced down the throats of Zambians.
In that regard, we advise Government to drop the demand for 10 copies of the draft constitution to be printed or better still explain to Zambians with a better rationale than the ceremonial excuse given by the Vice President in Parliament, why it needs 10 copies.