Minister of Justice Given Lubinda says the Constitution amendment process is not aimed at blocking UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema from contesting the 2021 presidential election as alleged by some people.
Speaking when he featured on Muvi TV’s ‘The Assignment’ Program, Sunday, Lubinda said President Edgar Lungu had no fear of losing an election to the opposition leader for him to use the constitutional amendment process to block Hichilema.
“Let me be very clear that the Constitution is not aimed at any particular individual, had that been the case, the PF would not have developed the road map that we have developed. Now we have developed the road map where we are saying can all political parties, all stakeholders make submissions and after they make the submissions all political players and stakeholders will attend the validation workshop where they will see their submissions. You can see that there is mischief in this whole insinuation that there is a plan to block a particular individual. Let me also say that this phobia that people think that we have about Hakainde Hichilema, as for President Edgar Lungu, he spends his nights very well as he says to us in Cabinet, he has no qualms about that. If he (Hakainde) has that fear, we have given him a platform, let him come and check,” Lubinda said.
Lubinda said the PF had faired very well on constitutional reforms compared to previous administrations.
“You cannot judge us based on the performance of our predecessors, you can’t, and it’s very unfair. Our predecessors did not have the road map such as the one that we have. They did not say we are going to have a validation meeting where you come and see your submissions. For us we have said make your submissions and come to the symposium to come and see your submissions. Had we told them that we are going to use the same formula that others used before us, but we are departing from what they did,” he said.
And Lubinda said the people would blame UPND MPs if they frustrated the Constitution amendment process like they did with the Bill of Rights in 2016.
“If they are going to use the arrogance of the minority to deny the Zambian people, the opportunity to refine the constitution, we will go and recount to the people equally. I have said before, had the Zambians not been discouraged from voting for the bill of rights, today no pregnant woman would be incarcerated in prison. Will use the same argument, the people will judge. We are politicians who give ourselves to serve the people. If they went on again and frustrated the constitution amendment process, there will be no winner, there will only be losers and that will be all of us as the people of Zambia,” Lubinda said.
Lubinda insisted that PF was not to blame for the faulty Constitution that President Lungu assented to in 2016 as it was a collective product of stakeholders.
“You know who you should bring to answer that question? Bring all the 150 MPs who were in the house at that time. You can’t hold one MP accountable, you can’t hold government accountable, you hold all the 150 MPs accountable, so bring them and ask them. That is collective responsibility, a blame cannot be apportioned to government or to the opposition. I have said this many times in Parliament, I have said we are where we are together, we have brought ourselves where we are and it’s not time for us to be apportioning blame,” said Lubinda.
“If I want I could also remind you that there were times in that Parliament when there was almost mayhem, opposition MPs were refusing to be controlled even by the speaker, even by the sergeant at arms. They were taking to center of the House and saying ‘business will not proceed until the constitution is brought.’ That’s why I am saying we are where we are together as a country. The decisions that are made by MPs have a bearing on the lives of every Zambian. And in a representative democracy such as this, when I go to Parliament and speak, I must bear in mind ‘what is the thinking of the people of Kabwata on this issue?’ So when I make a mistake, I will make that mistake on behalf of the people of Kabwata.”