LUNGU cautions against anarchy in quest for new Constitution

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President Sata, David Phiri, Edgar Lungu

DEFENCE Minister Edgar Lungu has warned that the quest for a new Republican Constitution should not undermine law and order and fuel anarchy in the country.
Mr Lungu has cautioned opposition political parties and other interest groups against using the issue of the Constitution for political expedience and fuel lawlessness in Zambia.
He said the defence and security wings would not sit back and allow the country to become ungovernable.
Mr Lungu said this in an interview yesterday following calls for demonstrations by opposition parties and civil society groups.
He said those seeking to ascend to power should not twist the arm of an elected Government as defence and security wings were on hand to ensure peace prevailed in the country.
“As Government we will also not sit back and allow others to make it difficult for us to rule. Those who want to get to power must not twist the arm of the Government, otherwise we will have no choice but to engage the defence and security who are on hand to pounce on them,” he said.
“Let us do everything within the procedures. The quest for a new Constitution should not break down law and order and fuel anarchy in the country.”
Mr Lungu appealed to Church leaders practising active politics from their church platforms to come out and join the political arena.
“Those who want to play politics from church should come out and not hide behind the Church,” he said.
Mr Lungu also condemned Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president James Banda for supporting opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) who disrupted Parliament in their quest for a new Constitution.
“As for the LAZ president who has supported the opposition MPs’ disruption of parliamentary proceedings, people should not play politics behind LAZ, let them leave and come out in the political arena. It is unusual that people can misbehave in Parliament then LAZ says it is okay,” he said.
He said Government was determined to uphold peace, law and order.
Meanwhile, police have denied the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) a notice to hold demonstrations over the Constitution-making process.
Police spokesperson Charity Chanda said the request from the UPND was written on February 27, 2014 through party deputy secretary general Kuchunga Simusamba and addressed to Lusaka Province Police Commissioner, Lemmy Kajoba.
Ms Chanda said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the UPND should exhaust all avenues of dialogue over the Constitution before opting to hold demonstrations.
Mr Simusamba wrote to inform the police about the party’s intention to demonstrate at Parliament buildings on March 5, 2014 between 12:00 hours and 17:00 hours to push Government to release the draft Constitution.
However, Ms Chanda advised the opposition party to heed Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini’s advice to use dialogue as the means to resolve issues surrounding the Constitution.
Meanwhile, LAZ has urged Government to exhibit political will in the Constitution-making process.
LAZ honorary secretary Linda Kasonde said Government had an obligation to facilitate the enactment of the new Constitution through a Referendum.
Ms Kasonde said during a Constitution programme organised by the Oasis Forum that Zambians had presented what they expected to see in the supreme law through the draft Constitution.
And United Party for National Development leader Hakainde Hichilema said he supported the stance taken by opposition MPs on the Constitution-making process.
Mr Hichilema said at a Press briefing in Lusaka yesterday that his party had applauded the MPs and called on Zambians to support them.

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