The United Party for National Development (UPND) in Livingstone says the decision by the government to reject an extension to the constitution making process will result in mediocre document that will not been inclusive of all the views
of people of Zambia.
In an in interview with ZANIS today, Livingstone UPND Spokesperson Neto Halwabala said the move by the government does not instil confidence in Zambians that the constitution will stand the test of time.
Mr Halwabala pointed out that government has already spend a lot of money adding that there was nothing wrong with extending the process if some contentious issues have not been addressed in the current documents in order to come up with a durable document.
He said it was prudent for the government to realize that the constitution was a valuable national document adding that government should seriously look at the issues raised by the technical committee drafting the constitution before making ‘snap decision’ that will not help the country to have a document of national character.
“We need to give the technical team a benefit of doubt because much as we should be concerned about the money the process has already gobbled, we should also be mindful to have a document that is of merit and representative all wishes and aspirations of all Zambians,” said Mr Halwabala.
The Technical Committee drafting the Republican constitution had requested for an extension of six months in which other stakeholders could have an input on certain contentious issues
but government yesterday rejected the application by the technical committee to extend the process to six months from the initial timeframe ofJune 30, 2013.
The government rejected the proposed extension period on grounds that the document has taken too long and that it has gobbled a lot of money at the expense of other needy areas.
And the UPND says it expected the government to have increased fertilizer allocation to farmers at least for three years to empower them than removing the subsidies on fertilizer.
Mr Halwabala said the removal of subsidies on fertilizers will negatively affect the rural poor farmers who survives on agriculture and consequently threaten national food security.
He challenged the government to rescind the decision to remove subsidies on farming inputs and show its commitment to empower poor people as contained in its manifesto.
“As UPND we expected the government to increase input allocation to poor farmers for at least three years to empower them and help them to stand own their own,” said Mr Halwabala.
“And I, therefore challenge the PF government to show its proclamations to be pro-poor and not a pro-rich government by rescinding the decision to remove subsides on fertilizer for poor rural farmers so that they can be empowered,” said Mr Halwabala.
Meanwhile, Mr Halwabala said although preparations for the United Nations World Tourism General Assembly (UNWTO) have picked up pace, there was need for the government to have constructed a permanent international convention centre so that the country could benefit from such global event.
He also advised the government to continue investing in infrastructure development such as roads in Livingstone to further boost tourism.