THE Grand Coalition says that it will not accept any partial amendments to the constitution and will engage stakeholders, especially parliamentarians, to stop the process.
Grand Coalition chairperson Leonard Chiti said at a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday that analysing some utterances from Government, it is clear that the ‘new’ Patriotic Front (PF) government is pursuing a path of partial amendment to the constitution.
“We are concerned with the recent contradictory statements coming out of President Lungu on this important matter,” he said.
Fr Chiti alleged that the appointment of parliamentarians from the opposition is an effort to garner enough support for the same scheme.
He said that some of the concerns over the road map include the need for a national referendum which, as the situation stands, seems not to be the way Government wants to go.
Fr Chiti said that Government should not hide under the guise of having no resources because there are several stakeholders that can fund the holding of a referendum.
He said the Grand Coalition wonders on the guiding principle for the selection of an independent group of eminent people to spearhead consensus building.
Fr Chiti said there is need for more time and resources for the referendum, adding that the process should be comprehensive so that the public is aware and participates.
He said that the Grand Coalition is opposed to the implementation of the road map in its form.
“We therefore wish to express our strongest reservations to implementing the road map in its current form and character,” Fr Chiti said.
He said the whole process in the road map seems to be suggesting a two-way process of enacting the new constitution.
Fr Chiti vowed to continue with the “No constitution, No vote” campaign for leaders who are non-committal to the delivery of the constitution in the shortest possible time.
However, National Restoration Party (NAREP) president Elias Chipimo said people calling for the implementation of a new constitution should realise the cost implication and that the current budget cannot support it.
And Mr Chipimo has challenged people disputing the January 20 presidential election results to take the matter to court and prove that there were some irregularities.
Mr Chipimo said at a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday that Zambia does not have enough money to implement a new constitution.
He said that almost 75 per cent of the current budget goes towards personal emoluments and expenditure, and only 25 percent goes towards development and that is why Zambia goes out to borrow money.
“To introduce a new constitution on our current budget, we probably have to spend about 120 percent of the money that comes into Government, the costing exercise should be done, and if we say let’s just implement everything that is in the draft constitution, we will run into a serious financial crisis,’’ Mr Chipimo said.
He however said that Government should introduce three major changes to the constitution which do not require a referendum, like the running-mate clause, a 50-plus- one percent and to ensure that the date of every election is fixed.