15th January, 2014
Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata
Dear President Sata,
THE CONSTITUTION HAS BEEN HIJACKED
The above captioned which is also reported as your utterance by the Post Newspaper Limited refers.
We are pleasantly surprised that in over two years of your administration, we have finally agreed on a subject. We wish to remind you that during your inaugural speech to Parliament on 14th October, 2011, you promised the nation that the Patriotic Front (PF) administration would deliver a people driven constitution within ninety (90) days.
This declaration was made long after the campaign period and the Zambian people believed that you were not politicking but making firm commitments, particularly with regards to fulfilling the dream of having a people driven constitution. Alas, over one thousand, one hundred and fifty (1,150) days down the line, the constitution still remains an illusion. The people of Zambia are left to wonder whether the ninety (90) days referred to in your speech were rebased days!
Reflect seriously on the following:-
• From day one (1) the constitution making process was doomed to fail as it lacked a legal framework to protect it. The Civil Society Organisations (C.S.O.) have a refrain, ‘Process Protects Content’;
• How can the PF deliver a people driven constitution when the PF President is in the fore front of violating the terms of reference under which the Technical Committee was appointed? The terms of reference clearly stated that the final draft was to be released to the executive and the people simultaneously. Now the ‘hijackers’ have changed the rules by insisting that only ten (10) copies should be delivered to the President.
It is becoming clear, that your administration is embracing the same failed strategies on constitution making that previous Zambian governments have tried. The path you are leading the country on is lending legitimacy to the failed constitution making processes of the past that you criticised not so long ago. These failed strategies have cost this nation both time and money without producing a document that could stand the test of time.
Your administration is not standing with Church mother bodies, civil society organizations, opposition parties and people in general on this matter. The only ones that seem pleased with the way things stand are the Minister of Justice, Hon Wynter Kabimba, Information Minister, Mwansa Kapeya and a few Patriotic Front zealots. Is this not telling? Posterity will find the PF on the wrong side of history.
Your policy on constitution making is in tatters, as there is no clear road map. It is ‘Chipante Pante’ all the way.
As a way forward, we propose the following:-
1 Immediately release the final draft constitution to all stakeholders and the people electronically and in print.
2 Table a bill at the next sitting of Parliament to create a legal framework to protect the constitution making process.
3 Immediately constitute the referendum commission to prepare for the referendum.
We trust that our proposals will be given your most favourable consideration.
Cc. Church Mother Bodies
Cc. Civil Society Organisations (NGOs)
Cc. Political Parties.