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Permission or NO permission the Technical Committee should release the Draft Constitution to the Public Immediately

Posted Nov 13, 2013

PERMISSION OR NO PERMISSION THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE SHOULD RELEASE THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION TO THE PUBLIC IMMEDIATELY

PRESS STATEMENT FROM THE NATIONAL RESTORATION PARTY

Hoping for a rational response from the Patriotic Front administration over the release of the draft constitution is expecting too much. They seem to have their head buried firmly in the sand not only on this issue but on nearly all the things that one would have thought they would want to do in their own best interests. For example, there is still no official comment from the head of state following the wanton destruction of human life and property and the ongoing threats to public safety by factions within the ruling party fighting one another for dominance in the streets of the capital.

All this leads to only one conclusion: where people can act in spite of the stubbornness of the PF, they should. This includes the technical committee appointed to draft the new republican constitution who should simply sign and release as many copies of the draft document to the public as possible – without further delay – and regardless of what the minister of justice or any public official says. History, law and the ultimate masters of the PF – the people of Zambia – are on their side.

All past commissions that have been appointed to draft the republican constitution have run into problems with their appointing authorities. In that sense, therefore, there is really nothing new in the current stand-off. In one instance, just prior to the release of what became the 1996 constitution, the Chairman Mr John Mwanakatwe publicly defied president Frederick Chiluba by releasing the document to the public at the same time as he handed over a specially addressed copy to the head of state. Although he was publicly chided by Dr. Chiluba, Mr. Mwanakatwe’s bravery scored highly among the people.

What the Technical Committee should remember is that although they served at the pleasure of the president, they did this on behalf of the Zambian people, not on behalf of the Patriotic Front. By immediately releasing the draft constitution to the public (permission or no permission), they will not be breaking the law nor will they be breaking the sacred trust of the people – on the contrary, they will enhance it. The only thing they will be breaking is the spirit of mediocrity and neglect that now seems to be a part of the PF’s approach to governance.

Elias Chipimo
President
National Restoration Party
12 November 2013