ADD president Charles Milupi says, President Edgar Lungu is forcing Zambians to have a “Lungu driven” constitution against their will.
And Milupi says the Constitution Amendment Bill number 10 of 2019 was the most selfish attempt to refine the constitution Zambia had ever seen.
Milupi was reacting to President Lungu’s remarks in his address to parliament that “if you don’t want to refine the constitution, we will do it for you.”
“There is a disconnect in what the people want with the constitution but clearly Mr Lungu does not want that. What we see is that he wants something that will guarantee that he has a third term which he is not allowed to have. Now when we have a situation like this one where everybody is scared of the executive, especially those who are appointed by them, when you see certain institutions which are part of the executive, going before a parliamentary committee to say ‘this particular aspect we don’t want it,’ it is not good for the country. That should awaken Mr Lungu into knowing that what he is trying to do is contrary to the wishes of the people. For example, the governor of the Bank of Zambia went before that committee to say that ‘to remove parliamentary oversight in terms of loan contraction is wrong.’ They wanted to be getting loans as and when they want. When you get the Bank of Zambia governor employed by the executive saying that that is not in the interest of the country, that should wake up those who are in PF,” Milupi said.
“And when these people, Mr Lubinda and so on, bulldoze their way to have the NDF and so on, you have seen the outcome of the NDF. The desire to hijack the constitutional making process purely for individual selfish interests. And when he says ‘if you don’t want when shall do it for you’, it means that whether you like it or not, you will have a Lungu driven constitution when the people have said no.”
Milupi said this was the most selfish attempt at revising the constitution Zambia had ever seen.
“We also had the Electoral Commission of Zambia that has gone in to oppose some clauses including this coalition government. They have opposed that and that commission is appointed by the President. We have heard this from church mother bodies, the opposition political parties and so on. This is the worst of all attempts to alter the Constitution. This is the most selfish that we have seen. It is worrisome and it is the most unhelpful in terms of democracy in this country. and that is why when he (President Lungu) was giving his speech in parliament, there was uproar in parliament and he got upset. And that is why he said ‘if you don’t want to refine the constitution, we will do it for you.’ Now, if the people don’t want it, who is he to say ‘we will do it for you?” Milupi asked.
He insisted that the proposals in the bill gave too much power to the executive.
“So that constitution means that they want to remove even the little accountability that is there, such as parliamentary oversight on loan contraction so it makes the situation worse. This constitution-making process is trying to give more power to the president and the executive. And that power they have failed to utilize it properly to advance the nation. That is why the growth in GDP is two per cent. He has said that this budget is on two things, emoluments and paying of debt [and] 90 per cent of it. So it means what you have for education, to pay the police, for health, and to pay health workers and so on is only nine per cent. And these are things that will get worse if this constitution making process goes through. We want power to be evened out and that can only come by a people driven constitution. And that is why we are saying [that] just remove that bill,” he said.
Meanwhile, Milupi said it was sad that President Lungu attributed almost all of Zambia’s challenges to climate change.
“That is the saddest thing for a Head of State to attribute everything to climate change. Climate change is an issue and we did warn them when we saw that the weather patterns were wrong. A function of government is not just to highlight issues or difficulties. It will come up with measures that mitigate those situations. And which measure came up in his speech that can mitigate climate change? Nothing. I can tell you that right now we are shedding, 12 hours a day is affecting those farmers who irrigate their crops,” said Milupi.