OASIS FORUM PRESS RELEASE
On 20th August 2012, the Oasis Forum issued a Press Statement in which it expressed grave concerns on the ongoing Constitution review process. Among the key issues of concern expressed in the statement were:
- Failure by government to publish a detailed budget for the current Constitution making process, especially the projected expenses for the Technical Committee,
- lack of a legal framework to guide and anchor the Constitution making process,
- failure to appoint a Referendum Commission to put in place the machinery for conducting a referendum on the Constitution , and
- setting the time frame for the entire process.
This statement was preceded by several dialogue meetings with the Ministry of Justice either by the Oasis Forum Consortium or by individual institutions within the Oasis Forum. From all these consultative efforts undertaken in the spirit of positively supporting the Constitution making process NO tangible results have been achieved. We are aware that other key stakeholders in the Constitution making process have made similar efforts to gunner government commitment to a popular constitution making process. However, such efforts have been to no avail. What we can only conclude from this attitude by the PF government is that it has no political will to facilitate a process that will lead to Zambians giving themselves a popular Constitution they have desired in a long period of time.
Mindful of the fact that since Zambia returned to multiparty politics in 1991, several Constitution making processes have been in vain and yet at great resource expense, this time around, Zambians will not allow this unfortunate state of affairs to continue. In all the failed constitution making processes we have seen in Zambia so far, the key problem has been the tendency by the ruling parties to subordinate the common-good to narrow party interests. Zambians will not allow this lack of respect for the people to continue and as Oasis Forum we commit ourselves to be an integral part of this struggle for justice.
The Oasis Forum has thus started a process of consulting all stakeholders in the Zambian Constitution making process, including all political parties, to chart the way forward and come up with strategies and actions that will ensure that Zambians come up with a people driven Constitution. The Forum is extremely disappointed that after so much rhetoric by the PF government to give Zambians the Constitution they have yearned for in a long time, goalposts seem to be yet again shifting towards apparent self interests by the party in power. We would like to state in no uncertain terms that this time around, we are certain as we were on the ‘Third Term’ debate that the people, being so determined to have a people driven constitution, will certainly triumph.
Fr Cleophas Lungu (Spokesperson – Oasis Forum)
Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ)
Law Association of Zambia (LAZ)
Non-Governmental Coordinating Council (NGOCC)
Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC)
Issued on Wednesday, 7th September 2012