IT will be a scandal if people responsible for the failed constitution in Zambia are not punished for wasting more than K200 billion on a fruitless exercise, according to an advocate of good governance.
In a statement, Marilyn Celli said the government leaders who frustrated the constitution-making process and rejected important provisions that the people of Zambia wanted should not go scot-free.
She said Zambians would be setting a bad precedent in the country’s history if some individuals were not held responsible for the gigantic blunder that saw the country lose billions of taxpayers’ money.
“From the studies I have realised that it is government’s fault that Zambia lost colossal amount of money through this constitution-making process that has eventually died.
It died because people with selfish interests especially government officials and pro-government supporters hijacked the process,” said Celli who is also a university lecturer in Germany.
She said the constitution-making process in Zambia started well and in good faith with clear demands from people who spoke through the Mung’omba draft constitution.
Celli said the government made a terrible mistake by forcing the National Constitution Conference (NCC), which was full of pro-government supporters that excluded the wishes of the people from the initial document.
“This constitution failed to come up because the NCC rejected most of the provisions that should promote and strengthen multi-party democracy and maintained the provisions in the current constitution which are only appropriate for a one party governance system.
It is unfortunate that a poor country like Zambia wasted huge resources and time. If this huge amount of money had not been wasted on the fruitless constitution-making process, it would have done a lot to improve the lives of ordinary people in Zambia,” Celli said.
She said the K200 billion which was wasted on the failed constitution could have helped to put in excess of 135,000 Zambians on Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) or HIV/AIDS treatment for a period of one year.
Celli said the money could have helped to build 670 rural health centres or clinics.
She said a lot of developmental projects would have been implemented but the money ended up going into people’s pockets.
Celli said in order to avoid further wastage of the country’s resources, Zambians must demand that the new government facilitates the completion of the constitution-making process in line with the desires of the people as expressed in the Mung’omba draft constitution, including all the significant provisions that the NCC left out immediately after the 2011 elections.