By Nason Mson
Can you read the tea leaves in the cup of tea on the proposed 50+1 constitution amendment bill 2015?
Clearly President Edgar Lungu appears to have grown cold feet over it and is now scheming to expunge it from the Bill considering his changed and diminished political fortune he is experiencing at the moment. It is absolutely terrible to legislate with an individual’s circumstances in mind especially if that such proposals are a product of national consensus by the wider Zambian public.
A good number of hired guns are expected and will come forward to make such obnoxious and atrocious submission to try and kill it. Yes a good number of hired mercenaries have been lined up and will come forward to speak against the provision in the bill before the parliamentary committee for legal affairs on the constitution Amendment Bill of 2015.
On this occasion the grand coalition and the church that spoke and demanded that the draft constitution be subjected to referendum and be adopted through a constituent assembly will be vindicated as government appears to be up no good over the entire constitutional making process.
The submissions to the parliamentary committee for legal affairs on the Constitution Amendment Bill of 2015 by the ECZ director Priscilla Isaac attempting to shoot down the provisions in the proposed Bill in Article 47 for the election of the President with a higher threshold claiming that it would not be smooth under the current social conditions should be taken with a pinch of salt and suspicion. It is a shocking submission coming from the ECZ.The question should be under what social conditions is such a provision suitable for inclusion?
The current simple majority appears to be the preferred provision in the constitution for electing the President as it just gives the incumbent President the comparable advantage and space to manipulate the entire process by fixing the final outcome through delaying the final vote count and quickly announcing the last fixed portion in the wee of the night and a hastily fixed swearing-in ceremony date preferred for the next day following the announcement of the cooked results and the game is over.
Article 47 tries to give a fair chance and an opportunity for leading two candidates emerging with less than the 51% requirement but having more votes than other candidates from a crowded field which previously had other participating candidates who must dropout at this stage in the first round and to finally allow the finalist to jostle for the top Job in the second runoff election.
We expect the ECZ to support this provision if a fair contest is to be held by supporting the appropriate legislation with provisions that help to level the playing field.