It is unprecedented that a Constitution making process would be solely supported by the ruling party against the will of the people who are being governed. When you turn on your radio and hear someone zealously defending Bill 10, you will find it’s a PF member of parliament, a minister or at least a cadre. Why? Why is it that only the PF is seeing the importance of this Bill 10 and not the opposition, the church mother bodies or the civil society? Ni Constitution yanyoko? Rupiah Banda would ask.
This is a clear sign that the ruling Patriotic Front is making frantic efforts to undo what they did in 2016. By giving this Constitution to the people in a hurried manner, they unwittingly reduced the President’s powers and created a trap that has caused a limit to how long they can remain in power.
When critics warned them that hurrying the Constitution making process was going to produce disastrous results, they did not listen. They rushed the Constitution Amendment Bill through a haphazard review process, cruised with it through Parliament and assented to it in record time. And they clapped for themselves.
The strategy was very clear to those of us who can smell crookedness from a distance. The PF wanted to make the release of the Constitution a campaign song ahead of August elections that year. They wanted to present President Lungu as Superman to the voters. They wasted public resources to produce a rushed Constitution meant to deceive the people.
As fate would have it, the rushed 2016 Constitution has come back to bite the Patriotic Front where the sun doesn’t shine and the pain is so unbearable for them. Suddenly, they have realised that the same document which got them points to win the 2016 election is now very perfectly positioned to get them kicked out of power. The deceiver has become the deceived, the dribblers have dribbled themselves.
A majority of the contentious amendments that the PF is pushing for in Bill 10 are a reversal of what they approved in 2016. They want to reverse the provision for the election rerun with a coalition government. They want to reverse the provision that prevents ministers from staying in office after dissolution of Parliament. They want deputy ministers back, just like it was in the Constitution before they foolishly amended it in 2016, so that they can campaign with taxpayers money.
We remember the Great leader laughing at members of parliament who voted for the Constitution without reading that it prevented those without grade 12 certificates from standing. He said he was very happy with the document and he was going to sign it even with his eyes closed. But now, the chickens have come home to roost. They are desperate to undo things, but the ‘Control + Zed’ button has malfunctioned on them.
They cannot believe how they shot themselves in the foot. They threw a piece of burning charcoal in their own gumboots and they don’t have enough pee to put it out. What happened in Parliament on Wednesday has surely sent PF into panic because now they can see that this document may not be as easy to change as they thought it would.
This is where the pressure is coming from for the party in power, desperate to stay in power. They regret bringing this Constitution and they want to discard it before 2021, but the people are now saying, leave the Constitution alone. You made the bed, it’s now time to sleep in it.
This is what happens when a group of people try to make laws with selfish motives. We have warned them before that laws must not be made to suit you when you are in power, they should be made to suit you when you leave office.
It is good that Bill 10 failed to proceed for Second Reading and the PF must not even pretend that this has caused no injury to their ego. It has pained, and they are not sure where they will get the numbers in February to bulldoze a Bill against the will of the people. Reality is slowly dawning. The PF is now dancing to a song called “You will reap what you sow” produced by karma!