Sunday, July 27, 2014

UPND wants 50%+1 clause for selfish reasons - Scott
By Moses Kuwema
Thu 23 Jan. 2014, 14:01 CAT

VICE-PRESIDENT Dr Guy Scott says opposition political parties such as the UPND are championing calls for a new constitution because they want to be kingmakers once the 50 per cent plus one threshold is enacted.

And Vice-President Scott says it is not true that the terms of reference for the technical committee allows them to release the draft constitution simultaneously to the government and the public.

In an interview, Vice-President Scott said the trouble with Zambia's constitution-making process was that people were not looking beyond one election.

"The UPND is the third-biggest political party in Zambia. It gets much more power if there is a 50 per cent plus one clause because now it holds the balance. If you go back to the elections of 2011, if there had been a 50 per cent plus one clause, UPND would have been in a very strong position because although President Sata won, he did not get 50 per cent plus one. The UPND could be bargaining to PF and MMD to say what are you giving us to bring our vote behind you? They would have been the government or most powerful of the three parties although they are the smallest. So they are thinking '50 per cent plus one is a very good idea because now if we get a similar split of votes like in 2011, we are the kingmakers', and that's the noise coming from them," he said.

Vice-President Scott said the trouble was that people were just thinking about what effect the constitution would have on the next elections.

"They are not thinking how it will suit their children and grandchildren. For instance, the parentage clause, it is something which the MMD came up with just to exclude Dr Kenneth Kaunda from standing in 1996? The National Constitution Conference also did the same thing with the proposals for age limit for one to aspire as president in order to disadvantage Michael Sata. These are some of the issues I was raising when I said I don't like certain clauses in the current Constitution because it bars me from standing as president and not that I support calls for a new constitution," he said.

Vice-President Scott said the government did not want to come up with a constitution aimed at making sure the PF loses the next elections in 2016.

"We want to have a good look at what our consultancy (the technical committee) has done. If we are convinced, we shall look at how we are going to pass it into law," he said.

Vice-President Scott, however, said the PF could still win the elections in 2016 by the 50 per cent plus one margin.

"I don't think many people are ill-inclined towards us. We have some lack of popularity here and there but where we won, we would win all of them again," he said.

Vice-President Scott said people should not pre-empt the government's position on the constitution.

"People seem to forget we are the government. They think if they can gather enough church mother bodies, enough NGOs, CSOs, demonstrations, church services, that you can run the country; you can't, the government runs the country," he said.

Asked if the country would have a new constitution before the 2016 general elections, Vice-President Scott answered in the affirmative, saying as long as the "constipation surrounding the process is cleared".

And Vice-President Scott said there was nowhere whatsoever in the terms of reference for the technical committee where it is stated that they should release the draft constitution simultaneously to the public without government approval.

"If somebody is claiming that the technical committee should hand over this document at the same time as the government, where is this? There is no mention of that in the terms of reference. Let us be reasonable," he said.

Vice-President Scott also observed that it was not right for individuals who were members of the technical committee to be making noise on the new constitution.

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