The Grand Coalition (GC) has noted with sadness the manoeuvres by the PF Government to adulterate the contents of the Constitution Bill by removing certain clauses which include but are not limited to the following:
- That the Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMP) electoral system which is a combination of the First Past the Post (FPTP) and Proportional Representation (PR) systems be rejected by Parliament. Among the advantages of this system that the PF has schemed to REJECT using MPs are:
- More representation in Parliament of marginalised groups such as women, youth, and Persons Living with Disabilities;
- No By-Elections which have in the recent past cost Zambia colossal sums of money.
- Curtailing the MPs crossing the floor.
- That the Provincial Assemblies be rejected by Parliament, despite the fact that they were unanimously agreed to with the aim of providing a platform and enhance citizens’ participation in the governance of the country at their local levels.
- That Parliament must reject the Appointment of Cabinet from Outside Parliament, the clause that aims at enhancing the doctrine of Separation of Powers.
- That Parliament rejects the clause that provides for the Vice President to be a Running Mate to the President. They are insisting that the President should fire the Vice President. It is clear that the PF wants a continuation of costly Presidential Elections in the unlikely event of the serving Head of State passing on.
It is also clear that the Government does not want the Bill of Rights to be adopted. Their argument that the country does not have adequate resources to support the Bill or Rights is baseless as rights can be progressively realised. Their real fear is that if they spend a lot of money on the citizens of this country they will have little left for themselves.
PF Government fears that these provisions once adopted will empower Zambians to hve a better say on how they are governed. The PF Government wants to continue with the situation where the Executive controls the other wings of Government and institutions – a matter that has escalated corruption and other ills in government. It has become evidently clear that the PF regime is not interested in the will and aspirations of the citizens going by how they handled this Constitution making process from the time the Technical Committee released the Final Draft Constitution.
The Grand Coalition saw these schemes and manipulations from a distance, because there was no legal framework to guide the constitution making process, and no political will to complete the process legitimately.
As the GC we are appealing to the Members of Parliament to summon their conscience and redeem this situation. It is not too late. The MPs must reject the process of piecemeal amendment by reminding the PF what is contained in their 2011 – 2016 Manifesto and send the document back to the people for adoption wholesomely through a popular mode: the Referendum.
The MPs must realize that the same people whose document they are being asked to mutilate by the PF regime are the same people they will need for their vote in a few months time.
The good Final Draft Constitution that is being mutilated by the uncaring PF regime is the same constitution that will protect them when they are not adopted and eventually join the majority of Zambians as ordinary citizens. To our MPs we say: Stand up and refuse to be used. Be on the side of the people and you will always be a victor. Do not allow to fight your conscience in future. Zambia is bigger than the PF, and all of us. The people are supreme. Let the people determine Zambia’s destiny.
It is our conviction that regardless of the schemes by the PF or any other person(s) that the will of the people of Zambia will ultimately prevail.
Issued by: Fr. Leonard Chiti
Chairperson – Grand Coalition on the campaign for a people-driven constitution