FLASHBACK: By Chibaula Silwamba – Sun 17 Jan.
2010 – The Post Newspaper:

PATRIOTIC Front (PF) leader Michael Sata yesterday said the 50 per cent + 1 vote clause in the Constitution is the only way to stop President Rupiah Banda and his MMD from dubiously winning the 2011 presidential elections.

And Non-Governmental Co-ordinating Council (NGOCC) executive director Engwaso Mwale charged that information minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha was misleading Zambians that the 50 percent +1 clause would bring chaos in Zambia the way it happened in Zimbabwe.

Reacting to Lt Gen Shikapwasha’s accusation that Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are advancing the 50 per cent plus one debate in order to promote chaos like they did in Zimbabwe, Sata wondered why the President Banda led Cabinet was scared of the 50+1.

“Why is Shikapwasha and the government afraid of 50+1? Mwanakatwe recommended 50+1, Mung’omba recommended 50+1 and why is Shikapwasha today opposed to 50+1? And what chaos is it going to bring? It has been done in Ghana, there has been no chaos,” Sata said.

“The person who stopped 50+1 is former president Frederick Chiluba. I was in Cabinet and NEC (national executive committee of the MMD). The 50+1 clause was already in the Constitution. It is Chiluba who said in 1996 that ‘we must stick to the commonwealth where the President gets the first past the post’.”

Sata said he wanted a 50+1 to be enshrined in the Constitution so that the winner was elected by majority Zambians.

“Let us go for 50+1 if they are democrats,” Sata said. “We will back up the NGOs and everyone who is fighting for 50+1 because we want to stop this stealing of votes by Electoral Commission of Zambia executive director Dan Kalale and Vice- President George Kunda. We want a clear win, not a dubious win. This simple majority robbed me of the victory in 2006; it robbed me the victory in 2008. So we must go for 50+1 in 2011.”

And Mwale said the 50+1 requirement for the winning presidential candidate in Zambia as highlighted in the Willa Mung’omba draft Constitution was what the people of Zambia have continuously demanded during all the four constitutional review processes.

“Even at the formation of the NCC National Constitutional Conference it was agreed that the Mung’omba draft constitution was going to be the basis of the adoption process and, therefore, for us and all the NGOs that have added their voices in demanding for the 50+1, we are simply defending what the people of Zambia have always aspired for

especially with regard the election of the highest leadership in our country.”

Mwale said NGOCC wanted to see a Zambia with popularly elected leadership that would reflect the people’s choice. She said Lt Gen Shikapwasha was trying to mislead some Zambians by claiming the 50+1 clause had caused chaos in Zimbabwe.

“We very well know the situation in Zimbabwe, we can’t compare our Zambian political environment to Zimbabwe’s. We know that the 50+1 was not the basis for problems that Zimbabwe faced,” Mwale said. “As NGOCC, we would like to disagree in total with what the minister is doing. He is simply misleading the Zambians on this issue.”

According to Article 95 Clause 1 of the Mung’omba draft constitution, “Elections to the office of President shall be conducted on the basis of a majoritarian system where the winning candidate must receive not less than fifty per cent plus one vote of the valid votes cast and in accordance with Article 125.”

During the on-going NCC deliberations in Lusaka last week, Lt Gen Shikapwasha said some NGOs were trying to bring chaos in the country through the same clause. He said Zambians should forget to see how this system being propagated had created chaos in other countries.

“Many democracies don’t use this system and you want us to use this chaotic system? The effects of it in Zimbabwe we are feeling it, we are feeding Zimbabweans…NGOs are the ones that created chaos in Zimbabwe by sponsoring this system,” Lt Gen Shikapwasha debated. ”

Chairperson, Zambia has always been known as a haven of peace and we are admired for this. Why are we going for a system that promotes chaos? Why is it that big democracies in the world have not adopted this system? I must appeal to my fellow delegates that

we should not adopt this system because it is wrong.”

The NCC delegates would be voting on Tuesday whether or not to include the 50+1 clause in the new constitution.


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