FORMER Secretary to Cabinet Dr Sketchley Sacika says the Grade 12 Certificate clause will divide Zambian into classes and has since called for the affected citizens to demonstrate against it.
In an interview, Dr Sacika called for the repeal the clause in public interest.
“The court must declare it null and void and demand that it be repealed or not be enforced in order to protect the public interest. The Constitutional Court is there not only to interpret the Constitution, the court is also there to defend human values of the people it is there also to uphold the philosophy of a constitutional government based on natural justice and fair play, that’s why the court is there,” he said.
He wondered what justification was used for the clause, arguing that general literacy had been the only requirement to go to Parliament since independence.
“Now, I have taken time to read the Hansards of our first Parliament which was composed of men and women of very humble education and compared them with the Hansards of the present parliament, the only difference is that the older Hansards show a higher standard of debate than the present Parliament. So where is the justification of the grade 12 certificate? There is none at all, all one needs to go to parliament is that one should be literate and conversant with the official language. This has been the only requirement since 1964. Now, I am sure you know the men and women, I don’t want to mention their names, who have made the greatest contribution to the growth of our country as members of parliament. As ministers, although they left school with a standard 6 or form two school certificates, there is a misconception in Zambia about education,” he said.
Dr Sacika observed that education could either be formal or informal, adding that education was a continuous process.
“Education can be formal, in other words, you go to school you pass an examination. But education can also be informal, education does not end when one leaves school. We are learning and unlearning things that matter in life all the time. So this myth of grade 12 or even myth of university education is totally misplaced, education is a continuous process. Moreover, when you are talking about political leadership, or leadership at any level, it is character that a man is made of and not a school certificate and not a university degree that determines the worth and the quality of a leader or a person. I can say this because I was in a position as secretary to the cabinet and head of the public service to see the performance of people working under me: permanent secretaries and all the lot. And I can tell you is that character and school or university education are two different things. Now, to tie an election to parliament to an arbitrary qualification of grade 12 is the saddest and the most ridiculous thing our Zambian Parliament can come up with. But Zambians are too passive, they don’t want to fight injustice such as this grade 12 certificate,” Dr Sacika said.
He further added that government had no right to divide Zambians into high or low class citizens as that was what they did when they introduced the grade 12 requirement in 2016.
“Government has no right to divide Zambians into high class citizens and low class citizens. They have no right to do so and yet that is what they did in 2016 when they introduced this grade 12 certificate thing. The grade 12 certificate is a PF government project which must be resisted at all costs. Zambians, whose rights to stand in parliamentary elections have been taken should show their displeasure by not voting for the PF or they should use other demonstrable means to agitate against this grade 12 saga because it is ridiculous, it doesn’t make sense and it is a ploy to divide Zambians on class lines based on superiors academic assessment,” said Dr Sacika.