Govt refutes HH’s claims that it is unwilling to enact new constitution

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—Government has dismissed allegations by opposition United Party for National development (UPND) leader, Hakainde Hichilema, that it is unwilling to enact a new constitution because it wants to remain in power by 2016.

Chief government spokesperson, Joseph Katema said the constitution Mr Hichilema calls “undemocratic” is the same one under which the country has had smooth and peaceful transitions of power from one President to another since the country reverted to plural politics over two decades.

Dr Katema told ZANIS in statement in Lusaka today that the current constitution is not in any way a hindrance to democratic transfer of power, adding that it is visible through Zambia’s recorded smooth and peaceful transition from one government to another.

Dr Katema, who is also Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, said Zambians voted out the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) in preference for the Patriotic Front under the same constitution Mr Hichilema terms as undemocratic.

He said it ought to be appreciated that it is not the constitution that can keep a government in power but its track record of performance in improving people’s lives.

Dr Katema said the statement attributed to Mr Hichilema in some sections of the media shows that the opposition leader confuses the reasons for reviewing the constitution with his chances of winning elections.

Dr Katema said it is not in dispute that the constitution needs revision in tandem with the aspirations of the Zambian people and that the process is underway as promised when PF came into office in 2011.

He added that the process of enacting the new constitution may appear to delay but not derailed stating that the government will not backpedal on its commitment to deliver a people-driven constitution as espoused in its party manifesto.

Dr Katema further said Government has a mandate to ensure that the process is free from manipulation and dominance by those with narrow and private interests and agendas in the important national undertaking.