CHIEF Government spokesperson Joseph Katema says it is baseless for UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema to suggest that the Patriotic Front is unwilling to enact a new constitution because it wants to remain in office beyond 2016.
Dr Katema said the statement attributed to Mr Hichilema that Government was unwilling to enact a new law was an act of desperation.
He said in a statement in Lusaka yesterday that the opposition leader was confusing reasons for reviewing the Constitution with his chances of winning the 2016 elections.
Mr Hichilema is reported to have referred to the current Constitution as undemocratic and that the PF did not want to have the new law in order to stay in power beyond 2016.
But Dr Katema said: “If indeed, the current republican Constitution has ‘power’ to keep a ruling party in office for eternity, as Mr Hichilema puts it, then the former ruling party, the MMD, would not have been defeated in 2011.
“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 we reverted to plural politics over two decades ago.”
He noted that the fact that Zambia had a smooth and peaceful transition from one Government to another confirmed that the current constitution was not in any way a hindrance to democratic transfer of power.
“But as we all know, Zambians voted out the MMD in preference for the Patriotic Front under the same Constitution Mr Hichilema is now branding undemocratic,” he said.
Dr Katema noted that it was not in dispute that the Constitution needed a revision in tandem with the aspirations of the Zambian people and the process in this regard was underway as promised in 2011.
He said although the process might appear to delay, it had not been derailed because the government had assured that it would not backpedal on its commitment to deliver a people driven Constitution as espoused in the party manifesto.
He said the Government was on track with its developmental agenda and the people of Zambia will decide who they will put in the cockpit of national affairs in 2016.
Times of Zambia