President Michael Sata and the Patriotic Front have betrayed Zambians over the need for a new people driven constitution. Their sudden U-turn on the need for a new constitution has consolidated the common belief that PF can’t be trusted.
It has become common for PF leaders including President Sata to shamelessly say or do something contrary to what they championed prior to the 2011 tripartite elections. As such, Mr Sata’s statement that Zambia doesn’t need a new constitution but amendments to the current defective constitution and that there will be no referendum is but another manifestation of PF dishonesty.
This position of Mr Sata made known in Mansa on Saturday is contrary to earlier pronouncements. Moreover, it is contrary to the PF Manifesto which states and I quote; “Under the MMD government the opportunity to have a new constitution that reflects the will and aspirations of the people, and which could stand the test of time has once again eluded the Zambian people. The colossal expenditure of more than K135 billion incurred under the National Constitutional Conference has been a sheer waste of scarce resources that could have been applied to meaningful national development. This failed process has been nothing but a betrayal of the Zambian people. Additionally the rule of law, social justice and the justice delivery system have been compromised. In order to redress the above the PF government shall: Establish in consultation with stakeholders a Committee of Experts to review the recommendations of all previous Constitutional Review Commission in order to draft and present a constitution which will reflect the will and aspirations of the people for submission to a referendum and subsequent enactment only, by the National Assembly.” (22 LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS. PF Manifesto 2011 – 2016. Governance and the Administration of the State page 42)
The above citation from the PF Manifesto clearly states PF’s regret that MMD failed to deliver a new people driven constitution. Moreover, the citation makes it clear that PF believes in subjecting the new constitution to a referendum and then presenting the new constitution to the National Assembly only for enactment.
Against this background, our party Alliance for Better Zambia believes that PF is a dishonest party and that it will not deliver a constitution that will reflects the aspirations of our people. It is therefore regrettable that another golden opportunity to have a good constitution has been lost. It is even more regrettable that again a lot of money has been spent on a process to come up with a new constitution only to be informed that a new constitution was not necessary. Therefore, PF should admit that they too have betrayed our people and that they don’t deserve to be trusted.
We find the statement by Mr Sata that Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) calling for a new people driven constitution don’t represent anyone but themselves totally unacceptable. The credible NGOs including churches calling for a durable people driven constitution in Zambia have been consistent for many years. As a matter of fact, when Mr Sata was in the opposition his party shared the same position of NGOs. It is therefore immoral that President Sata should today rubbish their calls saying they only represent themselves.
Finally, our fear as ABZ is that the treachery of PF may make Zambians lose faith in the political dispensation. Such loss of confidence in the political dispensation has potential to create instability in the political system of our country. As such, we urge President Sata and the PF to be honest and stick to what they promised the electorate. PF should realize that failure to honour their promises will negatively affect the legitimacy of the mandate Zambians gave them in 2011.
Fr. Frank Bwalya