Government continues to be saddened by the attitude of some members of the technical committee on drafting the constitution whose historic partisan rebellion against the Patriotic Front (PF) has been infused into the constitution making process, which is supposed to be a national endeavour.
Acting Chief Government Spokesperson Fackson Shamenda said the constitution-making process cannot be hinged upon the controversies and aspersions being promoted by some members of the technical committee.
Mr. Shamenda, who is also Labour Minister, reminded the technical committee that the guiding principles constituting part of its terms of reference require the committee to recognise the importance of confidence building to engender trust and to develop national consensus.
The minister said this in a statement released to ZANIS in Lusaka today.
He added that the committee was required by the same terms of reference to be guided by the principle of stewardship and responsible management.
Mr. Shamenda said it was clear from what he termed ‘open show of disrespect by some members of the technical committee to national leaders’ that there was a concerted effort to pursue partisan and sectoral interest in the current process.
“Government would like to remind the technical committee that the Zambian people who elected the PF administration are also entitled to be given due regard in the current process just like all other Zambians,” he said.
He said government therefore was appealing to the technical committee to stick to its terms of reference and to pursue consensus building rather than divisive and retrogressive bickering that may negate all the work that has been done so far.
Mr. Shamenda has since warned some members of the technical committee who have burning political ambitions that they would do well to deploy their divisive politics outside the current constitution-making process or deploy it in the political arena rather than the constitution-making process.
The minister said government remains committed to a constitution-making process devoid of sectoral inclinations.
But Spokesperson of the technical committee drafting the constitution said the committee comprised of government appointees who cannot refuse to hand over the final draft constitution and the report of the technical committee to government.
In another development, Mr. Shamenda has dismissed accusations by opposition UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema that government intends to impose one local language following the introduction of local languages as a medium of instruction in schools.
He said Mr. Hichilema’s accusations were out of frustration because the Patriotic Front government under President Michael Sata has performed beyond his expectations.
Mr. Shamenda said in a statement released to ZANIS in Lusaka today that all well meaning Zambians should dismiss the UPND leader’s thinking adding that Zambians were reasonable enough not to take him seriously.
He said Mr. Hichilema’s style of politics has no place in modern day democratic dispensation.
Mr. Shamenda said Zambia was a model and envy of the world with regard to peace and unity, as evidenced by the country’s 73 tribes’ peaceful co-existence from time immemorial.
He said it was irresponsible for Mr. Hichilema to dent the country’s impeccable credentials by championing regional politics.
The acting Minister of Information and Broadcasting Service and Chief Government Spokesperson, said while English is the official language for business and commerce, local languages have been an integral and examinable part of Zambia’s education curriculum before and after independence.
He said there was nothing wrong with government’s decision to re-introduce local languages as a medium of instruction in Zambian schools.
Mr. Shamenda said instead of opposing the reintroduction of local languages in Zambian schools, stakeholders should be encouraged to suggest progressive ideas to make this initiative work for the good of the country.
He said the government has a duty to preserve the different languages and use them as a tool for fostering unity and development.
Mr. Hichilema is quoted in today’s Post Newspaper as saying government was trying to impose one local language by introducing these languages as a medium of instruction in lower primary schools.