–Chief Chikanta of the Tonga speaking people of Kalomo district says government should not be pressurised into releasing the final draft constitution but that people should give it more time to address contentious issues in the document.
And chief Chikanta has appealed to the government through the Food Reserve Agency(FRA) to urgently pay farmers in his area who sold maize to the agency to enable them prepare adequately for the 2014/2015 farming season.
In an interview with ZANIS today, chief Chikanta said it was wrong for people to continue pushing the government to release the final draft constitution when everyone knows that it was practically impossible to come up with a people-driven constitution within the 90 days the Patriotic Front (PF) promised during its campaigns in 2011.
“We all know that it is not possible to come up with a constitution that can stand the test of time within the 90 days PF promised to the Zambian people. That to me was just one of those campaign languages that any political party would use to ascend to power,” said His Royal Highness.
He noted that in as much as people are agitating for the release of the constitution, there was a need to give government more time so that they can have a constitution that could last for a long time.
Chief Chikanta said it would be rational to wait for a constitution that is complete than one that is rushed and half baked.
“I would say we give government up to end of first quarter in April next year and I think that will give government ample time to finalise all contentious issues in the document because if we push government to release the constitution we risk having a half-baked one,” said Chief Chikanta.
Yesterday, Justice Minister, Edgar Lungu, said government would soon release the final draft constitution, a move that is likely to quell mounting pressure from many organizations calling for its release.
And Chief Chikanta complained that it would be difficult for farmers in his area to record another bumper harvest if government further delays to pay all the farmers that sold their maize to FRA.
He advised the government to speed up the process to pay farmers in order for them to pay for the inputs.
“It is a bit disappointing that FRA has up to now not paid most of the farmers in my chiefdom and this will hamper their preparations for 2014/2015 farming season,” he said.