Kabwe Central PF member of parliament Tutwa Ngulube has charged that all those who are opposing the refinement of the Constitution are sponsored by a named donor.

And Ngulube has insisted that UPND should not abandon the Constitution refinement process because they are the ones who called for the signing of the unrefined 2016 Amended Constitution.

But Chapter One Foundation executive director Linda Kasonde has laughed off Ngulube’s remarks, saying nobody needs to be paid to see how disastrous these things can be.

Speaking during the PF interactive forum, Sunday, Ngulube, the government deputy chief whip, charged that stakeholders who opposed the Constitution refinement process were sponsored by an “outside hand”.

“We are aware also that there has been a lot of talk, you know, a lot of rumor-mongering, over-sentimentalizing and also exaggerating the position that the people have actually put across. I am sure you have seen the campaign to block this process has been heightened and, unfortunately, some NGOs being supported by donors are confessing that after having read the Bill 10, most of what we are being told is not there. We cannot abandon this process because certain proposals have been rejected. Zambia is a sovereign state; we cannot rely on foreigners dictating to us how the Constitution-making process should go. I am sure some of you have seen sponsored propaganda on TV. Sometimes, I tune in just to see how people are being lied to and I think the people of Zambia deserve a better constitution,” Ngulube said.

“Those who are opposed to refining and we have on record, if you tune in to some TV stations, you can see all those adverts, which are coming, there is a donor who is actually sponsoring! There is an event that happened in Mansa, there is one I personally attended here in Lusaka. I think three here in Lusaka, two in Kabwe and another one I think on the Copperbelt where they are misleading the people; they are not telling the people that look, for example, this Article 189 in its current state needs refining so that we get rid of people who are abusing it.”

And Ngulube asked UPND not to abandon the Constitution-refinement process.

“We will listen, and continue listening to the people; we are not going to impose a constitution on the people simply because we are in power, but also to say our friends in the opposition must help us because when this 2016 constitution was being created, it was themselves working together with the PF that said ‘let’s have this constitution in its problem state.’ Now, they have said ‘it’s the PF government not us,’ forgetting that there was a two-thirds and the PF didn’t have two-thirds in 2016. So, where did the majority come from? It was the PF and UPND, plus others. So, even cleaning it up, we are calling them back to say, ‘come back, we were together in this problem, can we finish it off’,” Ngulube urged.

Ngulube also charged that the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) had joined a chain of “bootlickers” who were actually getting wrong advice.

“There is no way we can have a Law Association of Zambia that now starts operating outside the armbit of the law that created it and that is why, now, we have problems because even when lawyers agree that we are lawyers, we must read the document. You don’t just go and say: ‘we don’t like the contents before you have even read.’ Now, we have a problem because the Law Association of Zambia has also joined the chain of bootlickers who are actually getting wrong advice! We, as lawyers, genuine lawyers, the same way we spoke in 206; the same way we spoke at NDF and the same way we are speaking today, we are saying that this constitution in its current form, if we went to 2021 (elections) with this current constitution, the same people who are opposing it will cry foul!” argued Ngulube.

But in a separate interview, Kasonde laughed off Ngulube’s remarks, saying nobody needed to be paid to see how disastrous the proposed Constitution refinement process would be.

“I think, first and foremost, people who are speaking out are Zambians and they are concerned about their country. I don’t think anybody needs to be paid to see how disastrous these things can be. I think what is required is for everyone to put the national interest first and foremost,” said Kasonde.

“I think the President also mentioned that this is a listening government so what we urge the government to do is actually listen to what the people of Zambia themselves are saying about this Bill Number 10. And almost universally, what people are saying is that they don’t want the Bill so we continue to urge the government to be that listening government and abide by the will of the people.”