Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sondashi wants powers of the President curbed

Sondashi wants powers of the President curbed
By Kombe Chimpinde
Sun 27 Jan. 2013, 12:30 CAT

FORUM for Democratic Alternatives (FDA) president Ludwig Sondashi says the constitution making process will be an academic exercise for as long as the Republican President is allowed to hold excessive powers.

Dr Sondashi said that as long as the excessive powers of the President, provided under the Constitution, were not reduced in the current constitution-making process, Zambia would never have a constitution that would stand the taste of time.

"The draft constitution can never unite the country and ensure the much needed rapid economic development. Zambians can recall that I predicted earlier on that nothing progressive will come out of the exercise, and that its failure will derive from inability to curtail the excessive presidential powers and failure to introduce a federal state system in the provinces," Sondashi said during the re-launch of his party in Lusaka. Dr Sondashi said he was appalled to note that the draft constitution had actually increased the powers of the President. He said that the technical committee on drafting the constitution should note the need for a titular president as recommended in the Chona constitutional commission of enquiry.

"The President in Zambia enjoys excessive powers. He controls the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary, through appointment and through his important positions as Head of State, head of government and head of the ruling party," he said. Dr Sondashi called for a clear distinction and separation between the head of state and head of government by introducing a prime-ministerial system. He said under the arrangement, the status of parliament could be enhanced and such arrangement would make it easier for the Legislature and Judiciary to operate independently.

And Dr Sondashi urged elderly people not to abandon the struggle for a better Zambia, since it was the generation that created mistakes and government structures which were currently undermining democracy. "It is them who are highly qualified to know the genesis of these problems and should therefore hand over a better Zambia to the young generation. This is what propels me to keep going," he said. Dr Sondashi also explained that he had resolved to support the PF in 2011 because he wanted to see MMD removed from office and that PF was the strongest force to do so at the time.

"Things have changed. This is now my time to be tried. I refer you to my excellent performance and record in government," Dr Sondashi said. He declared FDA an issue-based and a non-violent party that had no room for violent elements. And Dr Sondashi also announced that government had set aside KR800,000 for clinical trials for his Sondashi-formula for the treatment of HIV/AIDs that would be carried out by National Institute for Scientific Research (NSIR).

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