Saturday, May 12, 2007

Levy's constitution roadmap is flawed - Oasis Forum

Levy's constitution roadmap is flawed - Oasis Forum
By George Chellah
Saturday May 12, 2007 [04:00]

THE Oasis Forum has stated that President Mwanawasa has abandoned his roadmap on the constitution because it is flawed and publicly challenged. And the forum has stated that President Mwanawasa wants to manipulate the law to suit himself and his party through another costly and unconstitutional indaba. Meanwhile, the forum has warned the MMD to stop using divide and rule tactics, which it seeks to benefit itself at the expense of the people and other political parties.

In a statement yesterday, which was signed by LAZ president Elijah Banda, EFZ executive director Bishop Paul Mususu, NGOCC chairperson Marian Munyinda, ZEC secretary general Father Joe Komakoma and CCZ general secretary Susanne Matale, the forum informed Zambians that the proposed indaba by President Mwanawasa had no legal backing and basis.

"President Mwanawasa only wants to divert the attention of Zambians from the real issue of having a constituent assembly urgently in accordance with the CRC recommendations," they stated. "The President has abandoned his roadmap because it is flawed and publicly challenged. Professor Ndulo, a constitution expert has supported the Oasis Forum roadmap because it is cost effective and can produce results in a short time."

The forum maintained that the indaba would just be another talking shop whose resolutions would be thrown out if they did not meet the desires of those in power.

"Therefore, the constituent assembly is the only way forward. The people have not forgotten the last indaba held at Mulungushi International Conference Centre whose results are not known up to now, many years after it was held," they stated.

They also stated that the constitution review had already spent a lot of tax payer's money.

"The Oasis Forum supports the commission's key recommendations contained in the draft constitution. These must be adhered to. In addition, no one in authority has explained to the public the position of the constitution committee set up by the President whose cost still remains unrevealed.

The committee composed of permanent secretaries went to the same countries that the CRC visited which was a duplication of work and cost. This is another exercise which was meant to buy time for the MMD," they stated. "We want to remind the President that he has always said he will uphold the law, which unfortunately he currently wants to manipulate to suit him and his party through another costly and unconstitutional indaba. This is a clear demonstration of delaying tactics in enacting the new constitution.

"President Mwanawasa in his address when he convened the Mung'omba Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) on 4th May 2003 said that, "the current constitution is deceitful, inadequate and oppressive." Now it appears that the MMD seems to be happy with the current deceitful, inadequate and oppressive constitution."
The forum stated that the 2006 elections should have been held under a new constitution.

"It appears that it is the decision of the MMD to hold the 2011 elections under the current constitution. Indeed, President Mwanawasa is on record as saying the new constitution can even be ready after 2015," they stated.

They maintained that the constitution was a national document.
"We therefore, need a mechanism that will involve all the stakeholders via the constituent assembly so that the new constitution stands the test of time.

The government should not drag its feet but should ensure that the new constitution is produced urgently," they stated. "Zambia is no longer a single party dictatorship. Multiparty democracy requires that the people, not one party, will deal with crucial national issues such as the new constitution. Unfortunately, issues such as the MMD holding on to the vehicles purchased with government money truly demonstrates the one party political system still operates in Zambia."
The forum warned the MMD to stop using divide and rule tactics.

"Which it seeks to benefit itself at the expense of the people and other political parties. All citizens have the right to participate in the national development process. We maintain that we will mount massive constituency rallies to put pressure on the government to heed the wishes of the people," they stated. " We will not relent in our effort to fight for a good and just constitution adopted through the people's determined method. In this regard, we will invite all opposition political parties, civil society, student unions and trade unions to join in the fight for the enactment of a new Zambian constitution."

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