Good morning comrades and friends of our news media!
It’s very clear that the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 is not acceptable to the Zambian people.
There are even very serious divisions over this Bill among those who sponsored it.
Therefore, the only reasonable thing to do is to withdraw it. It must be withdrawn immediately.
And we must start the whole constitution review process afresh.
It was very clear from the beginning that their National Dialogue and Reconciliation Forum was not going to work. It is not surprising that the Constitution (Amendment) Bill that has come out of it is not acceptable to our people.
After putting up the so-called National Dialogue and Reconciliation Forum at such a huge cost, we ask:
(i) what type of dialogue took place there and where are its results?
(ii) who have the sponsors of that project reconciled?
NDF was hurriedly put up to undermine a well thought out and well intentioned national dialogue and reconciliation process initiated and led by the Church.
But like all ill-intentioned schemes, NDF has clearly failed and today it is being repudiated even by its very own sponsors; it has become an orphan.
NDF brought together already reconciled people – supporters, sympathisers and friends of those in government.
But of what value is it to try and reconcile the already reconciled?
But as things have turned out, even the glue holding together the reconciled has proved to be not strong enough. Today they are differing, disagreeing with each other over the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 which came out of their resolutions.
What is this telling us?
It is indicating to us that we need to go back to genuine dialogue and reconciliation with each other.
We need to genuinely dialogue, reconcile and build some consensus on a number of issues, including the Constitution, with those we disagree with or even detest.
Is this easy? No. But it has to be done.
This requires effort, humility and good will, without feeling we have the monopoly of wisdom.
It requires tolerance and honesty.
And above all, it requires love for our fellow citizens – because with love all differences, obstacles can be overcome.
After the general disagreements that the nation has witnessed over the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019, we urge our brothers and sisters in government to retreat in best order and allow genuine dialogue, reconciliation and consensus building on all serious issues that today divide us.
Let them withdraw this highly divisive and ill-conceived Constitution (Amendment) 2019.
Let’s rise above our differences – political, religious and otherwise – and find other acceptable ways to dialogue, reconcile our differences and build consensus on how to deal with the Constitution and other contentious issues.
Trying to dribble others and emerge as the sweep stake winners won’t win us anything. What we should seek is not a single winner but for us all to be collective winners.
This country deserves more. It deserves a Republican Constitution and not a partisan manifesto disguised as a magna carta.
Let’s save the nation from relieving the nightmare of the last few years which they are trying to wake up from.
We know constitutions are products of special circumstances but not this NDF amendment bill.
We can and shall do better by galvanizing our people and allow them to give birth to a product of national consensus.
Issued by Fred M’membe on behalf of the Politburo of the Socialist Party
July 21, 2019
Garden Compound, Lusaka