RAINBOW Party general secretary Wynter Kabimba says the grade 12 clause is now hurting those who backed its inclusion in the 2016 Amended Constitution.
And Kabimba has predicted that a lot of people will go to jail for manufacturing Grade 12 certificates out of desperation.
Meanwhile, Kabimba says his party is willing to go into an alliance with any political party as long as they have common programmes and objectives.
Speaking when he featured on Crown TV’s Truth Be Told programme, Thursday, Kabimba insisted that the grade 12 requirement for all public office holders was “ridiculous” because not even developed countries had such clauses in their constitutions.
He, however, observed that those who supported the grade 12 clause were now paying a heavy price for lacking the foresight required to know what would work in the best interest of society.
“If that is correct, we have had so-called ‘grade 12 members of parliament’ from 2016 to 2021. Today, has their grade made any meaningful difference to the development of this country? Later on, if you went to read the Hansard today the answer is no. Secondly, who is more dangerous than the other between the two: a candidate who does not have a grade 12 certificate, but they offer themselves as candidates and a voter who is swayed by a packet of sugar to elect or vote for this person? Who is more dangerous between the two to this society? Who is more dangerous between the two people? A candidate who doesn’t have a grade 12 certificate and a voter whom I can buy by giving salt?” Kabimba, a former justice minister, asked.
“Who is more dangerous between the two? So, if you really want to prescribe qualifications, then prescribe qualifications, both for the candidate and the voter because you are trying to cure a mischief so to say. Now, the mischief doesn’t start and end with the candidate, it starts with the voter and ends with the candidate, so you are punishing one person for lack of a better term. So, the whole thing is ridiculous to be honest with you, in my view. I held that view when I was minister of justice and I still hold that view today, and I am glad that those who were jumping at the Independence (National Heroes) Stadium when President Lungu was assenting to the Constituency Act No. 2 of 2016 have been caught up in this web and they will pay for their lack of diligence and projection into the future as to what is best for this society.”
And Kabimba cautioned that some candidates would go to jail because they were attempting to manufacture certificates just to qualify to contest.
“And I can tell you that there will be a lot of people that will go to jail after this because as we are talking now, some people must be trying to manufacture grade 12 certificates and nominations are just a few weeks to go, so it’s good that it has come, at least ine form five nili nayo (at least I have my form five certificate),” he said.
“They had this demand from the people that we need to prescribe academic qualifications for members of parliament. I argued against that position and I still argue today. And hence the hullabaloo and all the outbursts that you heard when I was dropped as minister of justice that I had hidden the Constitution, ‘Wynter didn’t want to give us a constitution,’ and also the frenzy that came up that I saw after President Lungu assented to the Constitution Amendment Act Number 2 of 2016, I had my fears and my fears were not misplaced. Firstly, that this is a ‘third-world’ country, that even the United States, which has one of the best and advanced educational systems in the world does not have a clause prescribing academic qualifications in its constitution; not even the United Kingdom, our previous colonial masters, have got that clause in their constitution. I don’t know how many African countries, but even countries I think like Ghana, Nigeria that have the highest number of PhD holders in Africa don’t have that in their constitutions. So, my argument was, where are we getting this from, why do we need it, what is it intended to achieve?”
He further wondered why an article like that would be enacted in the Constitution when it was far from the reality of the country’s education system.
“In other words, you are producing less and less people that can get up to grade 12. That’s a reality, so how do you enact an article in the Constitution that is not in line with the reality of your educational system. And when it goes to Parliament where there are grade 12 holders, as we know now after 2016, they still go ahead and pass that and yet some of them, ma grade 12 yabo they are skeleton…If the mischief was to make sure that you have to just debate in the House, you have people that understand the agenda, I sat in Parliament myself for two years and I can tell you that it was the saddest period of my life…I never had any joy sitting in Parliament, there is nothing that I thought I got out of it that I learnt. It was sad for me; I don’t know about others that go there for other things, speaking for myself, it was a very sad moment of my life sitting in Parliament as a citizen of Zambia, I didn’t see any robust debate there; I didn’t see any forward-thinking type of debate to construct a society in the future, which is better than today,” he recalled.
Kabimba bemoaned the shortage of leaders in the country as most candidates pronouncing themselves as leaders fell short of the standard required.
“There is a shortage of leaders in this country that’s why everybody thinks that they can be leaders and it is going to be worse now with the grade 12 requirement! Many of us who pronounce ourselves as leaders aren’t leaders. If you read the Bible, for example, I always talk to people and small groups of youths about the book of Exodus 17 when Jethro went to visit his son-in-law, Moses, and he found him sitting and making judgements and said to him, ‘you can’t do this alone, you need other people to come and help you,’ and Jethro prescribed what type of people he must find to come and execute that function and he said one, ‘find people that are God-fearing; find people that are righteous; find people that hate bribes…’ Not that don’t like bribes, that hate bribes. So, the characteristics of leadership are provided for in the Bible and one would have thought that Zambia, being a Christian nation, would be guided by those yardsticks and yet the most corrupt in our society are our leaders. The chaps that are not righteous are predominantly our leaders; the chaps that proclaim to fear God within under the roof of a building called a church and go and do the complete opposite outside are our leaders. So, many of us who proclaim ourselves to be leaders are not supposed to be leaders,” Kabimba said.
He, however, expressed hope that there will come a time when Zambian society and Africa as a continent will start looking for good leaders.
Meanwhile, Kabimba said he had no problem going into an alliance with any party, but noted that alliances were no guarantee to victory in an election.
“We are amenable to an alliance on condition that we are getting into an alliance with people whose programme, social and economic, is intended to serve the Zambian people. As you know, an alliance is not a guarantee that you win an election, it depends on how you structure that alliance; how you structure its leadership; how you sell that alliance to voters. So, we are amenable and open to an alliance with any political party, even your political party if you have one as long as there are programmes and our programmes are interlinked or common. Not only PF, but any other political party, but PF would be one of them. We want a programme that can turn this thing around,” said Kabimba.