Press Statement on the Release of the Final Draft By the Government

Zambian Voice Logo 2

28th October, 2014

GRATITUTES

First and foremost, we would like to thank the government for the release of the final draft constitution, it has not been an easy road but we appreciate the release. Also, we would like to congratulate all the stakeholders, opposition political parties, the civil societies and the Grand coalition that pushed for the release of the final draft constitution. We say job well done and let us continue with the same fighting spirit.

As Zambian Voice, we would like to state our position on the release of the Final Draft Constitution.

In our opinion, we have not really been moved in the Constitution Making Process (CMP), but we have just changed from one position of stagnation to the other.

Backtracking to when the Technical Committee’s (TC) Terms of Reference (ToR), the draft was supposed to be handed over simultaneously to the government and the people. However, the TC was disbanded before the Draft was released. The Draft has now been released by Government who are not the author or compiler of the document.

HOW AUTHENTIC IS THE RELEASED FINAL DRAFT?

The Constitution is a very important document which must be taken very seriously without circumventing simple processes in this manner. Issues of mistrust may arise to discredit the whole document. As a compromise, we would like to suggest that the members of the TC make a confirmation that the document released by the Government, is indeed authentic.

WE STILL NEED A ROADMAP

Obscurity has culminated the constitution making process from inception due to lack of a roadmap. Lack of a roadmap still clouds the process such that we don’t know where we are going even at this stage when the draft has been presented. We would like to call upon all the stakeholders not to lose focus in discussing the final draft without the roadmap. We might labour in futility if we dwell on the document not knowing the next process. If you don’t have a roadmap, the release of the Draft will amount to almost nothing, it is like having undated cheque.

WE STILL NEED A TIMEFRAME

The pattern of actions by government has consistently been ambiguous in as far as the constitution making process is concerned. The final draft was released for the public to review it but no timeframe has been set. It is not clear when this process will end. God knows it might go on in perpetuity.  Therefore, we urge all stakeholders to demand for a timeframe on this stage and the entire constitution process.

WE NEED A CMP STRUCTURE

The constitution making process at the moment does not have a structure to manage it since the disbandment of the TC. This may cause confusion and stagnation of the entire process.

For example, who will take care of the submissions that might come as the result of the current public review of the draft at the Ministry of Justice. The direction by the Acting Justice Minister Hon. Simbyakula, in parliament to submit to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice was an after-thought. The Permanent Secretary may not have capacity to handle the submissions from the public. Besides the Government is perceived as an interested party that would not want to lose power by the new constitution. Therefore it is difficult to trust the ministry of Justice with submissions and subsequent alterations if any.

In view of the above, we suggest that the Government facilitates a process of coming up with a group of people from different sections of society to handle the remaining processes. This group must be formed in consultation with all possible stakeholders.

WE STILL NEED A LEGAL FRAMEWORK

So far, the constitution making process cannot be said to be a “People Driven” because government has an upper hand to even frustrate the entire process if they so wish. It is evident that Government frustrated the process by disbanding the TC, grabbing the document and shelving it at the basement of the Ministry of Justice and releasing it at their own suited time. This could not have been the case if the process was secured by a legal framework. The process can only be insulated from such ill-intentions by well outlined decrees abided by all stakeholders.

It is therefore imperative to demand for the Legal Framework even at this stage failure to which we will be at the mercy of the an interested party which stands to benefit if the process is frustrated, derailed or stagnated.

BUDGETS AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE CMP

Since the beginning of the constitution making process monies have been allocated in the budget and other sources. It is important for the public to know how much has been spent on this process so far, both from the budget and other sources if any. We require accountability because else government officials and others take advantage of the process for their own personal benefits.

Further we would like to know the breakdown of the K29 million that has been to this process in the 2015 budget. This will help us to appreciate Government’s plans on this process and accountability.

It is common sense that the constitution making process is an expensive venture to wholly factor in a deficit national budget, however, with the goodwill that Zambia enjoys from our cooperating partners, financial help may be available. What is needed is a political will, determination, strategic plan and people’s participation. We therefore ask Government to put in place a roadmap which will outline all the processes so that a total budget can be estimated. Government can then declare what resources are available for all Zambians to appreciate the shortfall so that those with means can make pledges to cover the total cost.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, we urge all Zambians not to get excited by the release of the final draft, we still have a long way to go and therefore we should take precaution and demand for the prerequisites mentioned above to guarantee the enactment of a People Driven New Constitution which will be a true gift to the Zambian people from the Zambian people within a reasonable time.

Ex-UNZA Student Strikes On The Unrealistic Public

There has been a debate on the demands by University of Zambia (UNZA) students to have their meal allowances increased and good sanitation at the main campus. Some reactions from the general public has irritated one of the ex-students, (Chitwale Kaoma) who completed this year. Below is her unedited comment on her facebook page.

Chitwale Kaoma UNZA

Miss Chitwele Kaoma

Me these people who talk rubbish about UNZA students make my blood boil. Boil! Boil! They are lazy they are this they are that. What does demanding for better sanitation and accommodation have to do with being lazy.
Some even say they should get jobs and because that’s how students in other countries survive, some suggest students start businesses. Good ideas. But have u sat down to think of whether their timetables are designed to accommodate such ? Maybe after school hours. But in this country of ours how many organizations operate after 5 pm? Or which ones will agree to take someone up to work for only a few hours weekly and pay them decently enough for them to pay their school fees? Our system unfortunately is not designed as favorably as it should be. If it’s almost impossible for a graduate to get even part time employment how easy will it be for a 1st 2nd or 3rd year student? criticism isn’t a problem, just mind the way you criticize. Some people are just so bitter. If u went through hardships it doesn’t mean the next person should too. Get over yourselves. If you ask me some people are just unrealistic and waffle unnecessarily.

President Sata Is Doing Well In The UK And Will Be Back Home Soon

51There have been rumors and speculations about the well-being of the President. Others have been getting in touch with us asking about President Sata. This promoted us to seek confirmation about the President and we can confirm that HE Michael Chilufya Sata is doing very well in the UK. All the planned medical attention are going on well and he will be back home soon.

It was also reviewed to us that for the past two days he has been watching the activities that has been taking place during the jubilee celebrations.

On the other hand, we would like to condemn Government officials back at home, especially the Ministry of Information for not keeping the Nation updated on the President. London is not heaven where they can not reach to found out how the President is doing, especially with the current technology.

When no information is given, rumors and speculations kick in, there is nothing like vacuum when it comes to information, there is always something. It has not taken us much to get confirmation when we sort it and we got it. Why can’t Government officials do the same. This is a failure by Government officials and they should be held responsible for the rumors, speculations and emotional stress on the Zambians. Keep us updated please.

Fred M’membe Calls President A Failure In Leadership

The Post took a jab on the ruling Party Patriotic Front (PF) and the President Sata, accusing him of failing to lead his party, dictatorial tendencies, corruption and hoodwinking Zambians with road contractions. This was written in the editorial of 25th October 2014. Below is the full Editorial. 

Mmembe alone ResizedThe Patriotic Front is truly a divided party.

It is a divided party because its leadership is divided. But what is it that has divided the Patriotic Front leadership?

It is the political methods of its leaders that have divided the Patriotic Front. It is a party in which divide-and-rule tactics are defined and practiced at the highest echelons of the party. It is a party in which factionalism is encouraged or tolerated because it’s seen to be beneficial to the key leadership of the party.

In the Patriotic Front, low-level cadres are set on top leaders to weaken them. And when that is done, no one is disciplined. If there is anyone disciplined, it is the victims of indiscipline who are disciplined without being charged with any offence and without being heard. That is how the Patriotic Front operates.

The Patriotic Front is a political party where everyone, including very high-ranking party officials, openly proclaim themselves to be nothing. How can one be a top leader of a ruling political party, its secretary general, and declare himself to be nothing and expect to be respected by the people as a leader? All power in the Patriotic Front has to be seen to be flowing from one and only one direction – the direction of the party president. Apart from the party president, everyone else is nothing. And to be safe, to survive, one has to continually declare himself to be nothing. But we all know that nothing is nothing and nothing comes from nothing. What can come out of a party that is led by nothings? And how can nothings be expected to lead us to something? We all know that nothing plus nothing amounts to nothing.

How can the Patriotic Front be expected to be united if its unity can only come from one person – the party president? As Nelson Mandela correctly observed, it is a mistake to think that a single individual can unite a political party forever or can assume the role of a messiah.

No one in the leadership and membership of the Patriotic Front can today deny that the party is divided. They are all acknowledging this fact. What they are not stating correctly is the source of these divisions. Yes, some have blamed Wynter Kabimba for these divisions. But is the party more united today without Wynter? The answer is a categorical no.

Who then is to blame for these divisions? Our view is that the entire leadership of the Patriotic Front, including President Michael Sata himself, cannot escape blame for the divisions and chaos that their party is today facing.

For all his strengths, for all his commitments and for all the good things he has done, President Sata cannot be credited with having built a strong, united and disciplined political party. The Patriotic Front is where it is today not because of discipline and unity but because of President Sata’s personal popularity. And this popularity is personal, which means it cannot be easily inherited. It doesn’t mean that if your father or your mother was very popular with people, then you yourself can simply fit into his or her shoes and enjoy the same popularity.

The other problem that is causing this disunity is dishonesty in the Patriotic Front. The Patriotic Front is full of crooks, liars, concocters and manufacturers of falsehoods. It is also full of corrupt elements who are ready to engage in any dishonest activity for personal gain. These are people who are ready to manufacture documents, emails and other forgeries to vilify their opponents. Such methods have never been successful anywhere in creating unity in any organisation. They have always been sources of divisions and discontent, bitter quarrels and fights.

Power everywhere is contested. And there is nothing wrong with people contesting for power. What may not be acceptable, what may be wrong are the methods they deploy in their competition for power. Competing for power is not a bad thing in itself. What may be bad are the methods deployed. There are people who are ready to harm or kill their competitors for power. That type of competition for power is not acceptable anywhere because the contest for power is one for service and not for the destruction of the other. The competition for power must not be confused with a battlefield, where the aim is to destroy the other. But even on the battlefield, where the aim is to destroy the other, there are rules of engagement that are universally accepted, there are war ethics that all civilised people should adhere to. But in the Patriotic Front, any method goes. There are no scruples. What type of people are these? Are these the type of people who can build a united and disciplined political party? With this type of attitude and conduct, it will not be possible for the Patriotic Front to hold power for a long time after President Sata leaves its leadership.

There is an illusion among some leaders and members of the Patriotic Front that this popularity of the party that President Sata has given it will last forever, will go beyond him. They are cheating themselves.

If the Patriotic Front wants to remain in power for a long time, many things have to change. They have to change the way they relate to each other and the way they relate to others who are not members of their party. They also have to reduce on their greed and vanity – their corruption. They may think building roads everywhere is a guarantee for them winning any future election. They are not building these roads with their own money; these roads are not a donation from them to the Zambian people. These are projects that are being paid for by the Zambian people themselves. It is not Alexander Chikwanda paying for these roads with his own money. It is not anybody’s money but people’s money paying for these roads. Moreover, who doesn’t  know that the more money they allocate to the construction of roads, the more money goes into their pockets because it is much easier to get benefits from these contracts. Moreover, Chikwanda himself has made it very clear to all of us that there is a lot of irresistible corruption in the road construction sector. So whatever they allocate to the road construction, a part of it goes into their pockets. Look at how rich some of them have become in a very short time because of kickbacks from road contractors! Look at where they lived three years ago and where they live now! Look at what they own now and what they owned three years ago! It really personally benefits them to allocate more money to roads.
But the competition for all this money is what is breeding, in part, the divisions that we are seeing in the Patriotic Front. Corruption is a very big factor in the divisions we are seeing in the Patriotic Front today. And as experience has shown, corrupt elements always want to turn to the tribe for protection. This is seen all over Africa. So, corrupt elements are usually very tribalistic. And this is why today you are seeing a tendency towards tribalism in the Patriotic Front – it is simply meant to service their corruption and protect them politically. These are the things primarily causing divisions in the Patriotic Front. And the first division is between the corrupt and the incorruptible. The second front for division is among the corrupt elements themselves arising from who gets what share of the loot, who gets what contract or bribe. And then, of course, like in every criminal activity, there is usually a godfather. And this corruption of the Patriotic Front has got a godfather who everyone has to pay homage to for this or that favour. And the godfather is usually not a secret.

This is what the leadership of the Patriotic Front, including President Sata himself, has failed to deal with. And because of that, divisions, factionalism, indiscipline have become the order of the day in the Patriotic Front. What a shame! What a disappointment from a political party that many people expected so much from!

http://www.postzambia.com/news.php?id=3279

The Plight of the Diasporas

The posting below comes from facebook, it was posted by Sidique Abdullah Gondwe Geloo who is the President of the Zambian group in America.

DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED…Why am I disappointed?
In our quest as AZA to help the Embassy of Zambia in Washington to reach and have rapport with the greater population of Zambians in America, I made the following offer to the embassy
We requested that they send one official to the Independence event in Atlanta where almost 30 Zambians from all over America wanted passports. ALL that official needed to do was to interview people for these Zambian passports. The Embassy told me, they did not have money to send an official to Atlanta. So I made them another offer, all for the love of working together as Zambians. I told them we would pay for that official’s Air ticket .Not only would we pay for their air ticket, we went further and offered to pay for that official’s accommodation.
Their answer was. ..NO. why? They said it’s unfair for us. I told them we are offering them this chance to help Zambians. . They still said no.
The ambassador travels around the US visiting universities, doing things that dont help Zambia as much as sending an official to where many Zambians are to help them get Zambian passports would do. And they find that normal. What kind of mentality is this??
When I reported to my fellow Zambians that the embassy had refused even our offer to help them help Zambians, they said , ” now you know why it will take us ages to ever have faith in these so called representatives. Even when we make it easy for them, they still find a way to disappoint us.”
I apologize to all those that looked forward to having their passports done, those that thought we were finally getting the embassy to do right. I am sorry we so have a long way to go. But wherever you are my fellow Zambians, let’s just enjoy , dance, and keep helping ourselves. Love you all

ZAMBIAN VOICE VIEW POINT

I hope the embassy will respond to with a statement on this matter because this is a very serious issue. Sidique Abdullah Gondwe Geloo lets fight this from both ends.
Send me a list of all those with issues which need to be attended to by the embassy and they are not being helped. Of course we want people to be honest and factual so that we are fair with our brothers and sisters in the mission (we should not accuse them wrongly). We will then pick it up from here with relevant ministries and other authorities.
Furthermore, let us create a link between those in diaspora and some NGO/CSOs that can fight for you from at home. At times these people in the mission do nothing but they are being paid by Taxpayers. Such people should be exposed and recalled if necessary. You are Zambians and just like we fight for our brothers and sisters here at home we should be able to look at your welfare as well.

James Thornton is Right on The Wage Freeze In Zambia

British High Commissioner to Zambia James Thornton has backed the Patriotic Front (PF) government’s decision to maintain the wage freeze on the civil service in the 2015 financial year.

Thornton says his concern is the broader economic situation of Zambia.

Thornton says if government is to control fiscal deficits, one of the ways to do so is to restrict public spending.

The British envoy says this is why he thinks that by imposing a wage freeze on the civil service, the Zambian government is trying to cut down on deficits especially that the public service was recently awarded a huge pay increment.

Last year (2013) the public worker’s wage bill represented 52% of the total budget. In 2015 Budget, the same expense represents 50%.

Zambia has a total public worker force of about 278 while the total population stands at 14 million people.

 MEDIA BREAKFAST ON 20TH OCTOBER 2014

tea

The Zambian Voice would like to invite all media houses for a Jubilee media breakfast where we will deliver our Jubilee message.

Among the issues to be discussed among others will be:

  1. Political, Social and Economic situation in the Country
  2. Political, Social and Economic Forecast

VENUE:        The Lusaka Hotel

DATE:           20th October 2014

TIME:           10:00HRS

 

PLEASE OBSERVE TIME

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,476 other followers

%d bloggers like this: