The Oasis Forum has demanded strongly that the draft Constitution be released without further delay to allow the people of Zambia, who are the owners of the document, to study it and ensure their demands have been met.
Oasis Forum Chairperson Reverend Suzanne Matale said in a press statement that it has become crystal clear from the pronouncements being made by the various government representatives, that they are not in a hurry to deal with the constitution matter and this is totally unacceptable.
‘It is unreasonable to continue to give different explanations on why Zambians cannot have a constitution now. We know that lack of funding is not a convincing reason because money can be mobilised for this important exercise, which ranks top on the development agenda of this nation,’ said Reverened Matale.
She said that the Patriotic government made a commitment to the Zambian people, that they would make the enactment of a new people driven constitution a priority.
‘As the Oasis Forum, we believe that the Zambian people have been patient long enough and this patience is waning thin, they cannot wait any longer.
‘The refusal by the ruling Patriotic Front Government to stand on their own promises without tangible explanation speaks for itself about what type of leaders Zambians put in government. A leadership that does not respect and stand on its own promises cannot be expected to respect the people who put them in power and this is a tragedy for a nation which will soon be celebrating its Golden Jubilee,’ she said.
Reverend Matale said a number of African countries have moved on with enacting good constitutions and are now enhancing and maturingtheir democracies, whilst Zambia, despite having been a leader in the liberation struggle in the region, leader in democratic governance in the region, is still lagging behind and in some instances retrogressing.
Reverend Matale assured the government that they have nothing to fear but that a good constitution would actually ‘help them to govern better, to build consensus in the nation.’ She asked, ‘Might we also remind the government, in case they have forgotten, that there can be no good government without the people’s participation, freedom of speech, assembly, association and food on the table for all Zambians?’