Opposition alliance chairperson Charles Milupi says the on-going National Dialogue Forum was assembled to legitimise the raping of the Republican Constitution in order for the PF to continue in power.
And Milupi says people will still rise and vote against the PF in 2021 even if they manipulate the Constitution in their favour.
In an interview, Thursday, Milupi stated that the NDF was raping the Constitution in order to maintain totalitarianism.
“A Constitution cannot be the property of a party in government or a particular administration, a Constitution is developed for the people by the people, it is the people themselves expressing how they want to be governed and how their supreme law ought to be. And that is why we in the opposition alliance from outset we subscribed to the view that in order to derive a constitution that will last a test of time, it needed to be superintended over by a reputable organisation that we all respect like the church mother bodies. But they realised that they were not going to control the church because they had exhibited some level of independence on how they were going to carry out this process. What they are developing is a very short term Constitution that they will use to attempt to hang on to power and once they remain in power, they want to use the same Constitution to benefit them. And that is why, we in the opposition alliance said ‘no, we can’t be part of a grouping that is specifically put together to legitimise the raping of the country’s Constitution,” Milupi said.
“If you look at the things they want to include in the Constitution, they want to bring back things that people rejected such as ministers remaining in office after the dissolution of parliament; who asked them to do that? did you hear any citizen saying that we need ministers to remain in office after dissolution of parliament? They want to bring back the position of deputy minister; have you ever heard anyone asking for this position to be re-introduced? When the country is having serious financial challenges they are introducing things that will add more pressure on the country’s economy instead of reducing even on the number of ministries in order to serve resources for critical national needs.”
Milupi said professional bodies such as the Law Association of Zambia were under threat hence they were not giving guidance on critical national issues like constitutional amendment.
“Ultimate power lies with citizens of this country, but you see, citizens in Zambia don’t realise that. they don’t realise that the power that is being exercised by the President, by ministers, is their power. When you come up with fun laws, it’s up to citizens to orgnise themselves and say ‘no, not in our name,’ they really need to know how to do that and that’s why there are civil society organisations. But what’s happening in Zambia is that this misgovernance has started compromising most institutions; whether they are professional bodies which in the past people looked up to; these are the ones that are compromised. You find that when these professional bodies have their elections, government is all over to make sure that they put people who are friendly to them. Look at the Economic Association of Zambia, look at the Law Association of Zambia, they are under threat. And even civil society organsations are under pressure,” Milupi said.
He said the last hope was for MPs to reject the Constitution amendment bill when it’s taken to Parliament.
“The last stunt now is the members of parliament to make sure that they don’t pass it. In 2011 I was in parliament as an opposition MP and PF was also in opposition, we walked out of parliament during the NCC and MMD even though they had the numbers, they were not able to put in place that constitution because they went and adulterated it. And even now, it is not everything the NDF will enact, the bill will have to go back to Parliament for MPs to vote, we hope MPs from both opposition and some from PF who feel for this country, will reject it,” Milupi said.
Meanwhile, Milupi said people were still going to vote against the PF in 2021 even if they manipulate the Constitution in their favour.
“When we had an election in 1991, we had all power in UNIP, the only change in the Constitution at that time was article 4 that allowed more political parties to come in. What happened? UNIP was knocked out of power despite having the whole constitution on their side. MMD got 80% of the votes because of the suffering of the people and people were fed up. We are going to 2021, the people are suffering, the people are fed up, the youths are fed up, there is nothing in it for them; there is no employment. Those in villages where we go to, it’s even worse. Farmers are disadvantaged, farming inputs are always delayed to be delivered. People are generally fed up and because of that, they will rise in the manner they rose against UPND. Despite those laws they are putting in, when people power comes to the surface, they will not be able to withstand that. what is necessary for the opposition is to come together so that we give people an opportunity to rally behind something, and that’s the purpose of the opposition alliance,” said Milupi.