By Inonge Noyoo and Chibaula Silwamba
Sunday July 01, 2007 [04:00]
UNIVESITY Of Zam-bia Student Union (UNZASU) president Sergie Samwika has cautioned the people of Zambia not to allow politicians to hijack the constitution making process. And Lusaka lawyer Christopher Mundia has said without consensus, nothing will be achieved in the constitution-making process.
In an interview yesterday, Samwika said politicians have disappointed the Zambian people too many times and thus should not be trusted anymore.
Samwika said many people were worried that once the process was spearheaded by politicians, it may be hijacked by people who do not have the people's interest at heart.
He said for the constitution to be adopted in a manner that satisfied everyone, the process needed to be spearheaded by people who had natural and spelled out intentions.
"If you consider the Mungo'mba draft constitution, the constitution conference is not different from the constitution assembly so there is no problem. The only problem is the mandate that the constitutional conference will have. The people that are spearheading are politicians. These are people who have disappointed us before," Samwika said. " Zambia no longer trusts politicians."
Samwika suggested that civil society should be the one to lead the fight for a new constitution, as they were trustworthy.
Samwika said the students would watch the process.
"As Zambia National Students Union ZANASU we will champion the cause to ensure that people take the lead. The Church has always been at the helm. What we want is the constitution to be adopted by next year as it will and that the adoption be the beginning of better things to come," he said.
And Mundia commended President Mwanwasa's efforts in ensuring that the constitution was adopted in the best way possible.
Mundia said he was failing to understand why well-intentioned constitutional programmes were being put to scorn by some people.
"It should be understood that no amount of individual effort can lead our country into prosperity without the efforts of all Zambians. Without consensus that the constitutional conference is all about, nothing can be achieved by wild criticisms. The constitution conference provides an opportunity to our people to iron whatever misunderstandings, perceived or real may exist," he said.
Mundia said Zambia needed men and women of vision and valour who would want to see matters concerning the constitution-making process resolved without further acrimony.
"We may have different opinions and views but we should always endeavour to be honest to ourselves and our people rather than thriving in political rhetoric which has no room in our current political dispensation," he said.
And Global Justice executive director John Phiri has called for mass sensitisation of Zambians on the constitution making process.
In an interview yesterday, Phiri said most Zambians especially youths did not know the constitution and the process of enacting it.
“There is need to educate people on the constitution,” Phiri said.
He said instead of arguing on the mode of adopting the constitution, people spearheading the constitution-making process should sensitise Zambians on what the constitution was.
He said the sensitisation should also highlight the importance of having a new and good constitution for the ordinary people.
Phiri said a sample survey on what the youths understood about the constitution showed that very few knew anything about the constitution.