Sunday, June 10, 2012
By Christopher Miti in Chipata
Sun 10 June 2012, 12:58 CAT
BISHOP William Mchombo says the PF government should not miss the opportunity to make a good constitution for the country.
Commenting on the current constitution-making process, Bishop Mchombo, the head of the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Zambia, said it would be most appreciated for once if the leaders looked at constitution making from a Zambian point of view without any political attachments.
"We owe it to ourselves and to future generations to come up with a people's constitution. It is therefore imperative that measures should be put in place that will ensure that the end product is truly what the people of Zambia want. The PF government should not allow the opportunity it has to pass by," Bishop Mchombo said.
He said people who espouse obnoxious laws "are caught in the web that they spin for others and they cry the loudest once outside the comfortable corridors of power and influence".
Bishop Mchombo said it was good that most of the submissions from the previous constitution review commissions had been included in the current draft which he said needed to be fine-tuned.
"It should, however, be pointed out that as a nation we have come this far on several occasions only to be disappointed by past sitting governments' desire to cling to power at all costs thereby rendering the whole constitution making process an exercise in futility.
Sometimes certain clauses in the constitution-making process have been inserted to deal with targeted individuals. For instance the parents' clause and the theft of motor vehicle clause," Bishop Mchombo said.
He said there was need for the country to come up with a constitution that would reflect people's desire on how they want to be governed.
"One would have thought our leaders in government would have learnt lessons from past mishaps. But it appears to be a far-fetched call.
Already, certain clauses like the election of the running mate for Presidency are being shot down. What guarantee, in the absence of a tangible roadmap and legal process, is there for the realisation of an end product that will reflect the people's desire on how they want to be governed?" Bishop Mchombo asked.
He said history in constitution making showed that it was not the ruling class that carries out the work, but the governed in order to provide for equitable distribution of wealth, safeguard privileges of the governed and to curb any excesses by the leaders.
"One only has to refer to the origins of the Magna Carta which was later described by Lord Denning as 'the greatest constitutional document of all times - the foundation of the freedom of the individual against arbitrary authority of the despot' to appreciate the input of all stakeholders," said Bishop Mchombo.