JUSTICE Minister Mulambo Haimbe says stakeholders must take advantage of his open door policy to first seek engagement before going on uninformed attacks, clarifying that submissions for the constitutional reform which have been received so far are unsolicited.

And Haimbe says government has only just started the process of internal consultation before Cabinet can approve a road map on how the constitutional reform process will be undertaken.

Last week, governance activist Rueben Lifuka said Haimbe’s premature announcement that stakeholders were making submissions towards the constitutional reform process had the potential to undermine a noble programme, fearing that it would be the same old politics of the past.

“Minister of Justice – Hon Mulambo Haimbe, is reported to have revealed that the constitutional reform process has commenced and stakeholders have started making their submissions. If indeed this statement attributed to the Minister is true, then it is not only unfortunate but very retrogressive. Zambia has a litany of failed constitutional reform processes, including the latest Bill 10 debacle and it would seem the UPND government has not learnt anything from the failures of the past. There are a number of concerns that this statement by the Minister raises and needs to be addressed even before the process commences,” said Lifuka.

“The Government has made no formal public announcement to outline its proposal for completing the constitutional reform process, which has remained unsatisfactory and incomplete for many years under successive governments. It is imperative that there is broad consensus on the process because as we have always advocated – PROCESS PROTECT CONTENTS. One of the major reasons for the failure of past efforts at constitutional making is a flawed process.”

But commenting on this in an interview, Haimbe said Lifuka’s remarks were misplaced.

“It is a completely misplaced comment as it is not grounded in fact. The submissions we have received are unsolicited views from various persons and institutions that are entitled to do so. That, by no means suggests that the government has taken those views to be the way forward. I have been consistent that the process will be consensus driven so as to achieve a people-centric outcome and a constitution that will stand the test of time,” Haimbe said.

“I have also been consistent that what has started is the process of internal consultation so that approval is given for a road map on how the process will be undertaken. The article from my brother Mr Lifuka is therefore, and with all due respect, ill timed and ill informed if indeed the same can be properly attributed to him. Had he taken time to engage me, he would have gotten the correct position straight from the horse’s mouth as it were and given an accurate analysis to the people.”

Haimbe implored stakeholders to take advantage of the new dawn government’s good will to first seek engagement before making uninformed attacks.

“I thus implore stakeholders to take advantage of the good will of the new dawn government and my open door policy to first seek engagement before going on uninformed attacks,” said Haimbe.