The passage last week of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2015 closely resembled a farcical pantomime. In the end this was the Inquiries Act process all over again complete with a White Paper that remained undisclosed but existed and a veto of the contents by MPs –just like in the past!
There may have been a lot of contention along the way but there was always an underlying consensus that the constitution would not be processed this way this time around. The governing Patriotic Front(PF) was a noisy part of this consensus at least outwardly. But once in power it as in many other things reneged and beat a hasty retreat into the past with the result that what Zambia has for “a new people-driven constitution” is nothing more than the expression of the unyielding totalitarianism and paternalism of those in power. Like Big Brother, they know best!
The truth is, there is no “People –driven constitution” anywhere in Zambia today, thanks to the machinations of the PF. Instead we have a constitution that has been by stealth forced on the people and sold as “people driven” by an arrogant and increasingly insecure and desperate cabal at the helm.
What has happened to the PF’s noisily –manifested enthusiasm for “a people –driven constitution? “Was it another of its brutal 90 days lies by which it secured office?
But no matter the spin, or the positive gloss and how many “stakeholders” the PF President Edgar Lungu will invite to witness the signing of that bill into law, the fact remains that this was a profoundly shameful episode –a leap into the past because of the mediocre leadership’s inability to see the future. There was absolutely no departure from past practices illustrating very clearly and conclusively that the PF is an anachronism, a true party of the past that cannot by definition take Zambia forward.It is clearly high noon for the PF.
Development isn’t just about building roads or establishing more universities even when you can’t effectively run one. It requires and is about constitutional development as well and in equality. Ordinary citizens have an abiding say and not just MPs who spend half the time eying the front benches.
What came out of the National Assembly cannot by any stretch of the imagination be a people-driven constitution.It was PF –driven and with considerable guile, arrogance and deceit. The PF vetted the draft and sat in caucus to decide what to include and leave out! This was a violation of the ground rules that evolved around the process. The PF had no business writing the constitution and after so doing claim to have given the country, a people driven constitution! Such flights of fantasy among people in responsible positions is a very bad sign.
How come that after all that was said and even agreed about the new constitution, the PF and MMD MPs arrogated themselves the mandate to subtract? Who said they were mandated to “park” the provision for proportional representation? How about the clause requiring ministers to be appointed from outside parliament and the provincial assemblies? These clauses were arrived at after protracted and extensive consultations at all levels. Why did the PF/MMD MPs veto the people’s wishes? This was totalitariasm at its worst and it will kill Zambia.
The whole constitution-making process under the PF was a big hoax, pre-ordained to de-fraud the people of their rightful say.Why can’t the PF for once listen to the peopleinstead of upstaging and trying to hoodwink them, all the time? The PF exercised a well-calculated and self-serving veto.This is how other constitutions were messed up and this one has similarly been perverted.
After putting their nefarious conspiracy to mercilessly mutilate the people’s draft into nothingness , the PF had no choice but pass the 50+1 vote threshold clause to mollify, more accurately bribe the people andin an effort for the party to come out looking good. It was all eye-wash! What further attracted them to the clause was the latent belief that: “HH is afraid of 50+1.”
But this again is a reflection of the level of delusion in the PF nowadays. Edgar Lungu has more to fear from that clause. He is the head of a tottering, demonstrably inefficient and ineffective administration that has run Zambia aground barely a year into office. The failure or inability by the PF to provide dynamic leadership or leadership at all at this time is clear to everybody and will cost them dearly. The people will not forgive this level of incompetence and deceit.
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