ZAMBIANS will get a new Constitution before the 2011 general elections through the much-desired Constituent Assembly (CA), chief Government spokesperson Vernon Mwaanga has said.
Mr Mwaanga who is Information and Broadcasting minister said in Lusaka yesterday that it was wishful thinking for Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) chairman William Mweemba to suggest that the K206 billion provided for in this year’s Budget was enough to complete the Constitution exercise within a year.
He explained that the Constitution making process was tedious as it involved a laborious process which involved holding of a census as well as amending the current Constitution to allow the sharing of powers for the CA and Parliament in terms of making laws.
Mr Mwaanga also wondered whether parliamentarians would agree to share power with the CA.
The minister said President Mwanawasa was determined to leave the Zambian people with a new Constitution as his legacy after his final five-year term of office.
“The Government roadmap on the Constitution making process envisages on giving Zambians a new Constitution much earlier than the 2011 elections. Besides, President Mwanawasa would want to leave a legacy of a new Constitution before his final term of office,” Mr Mwaanga said.
He said although President Mwanawasa clearly stated that adopting the new Constitution through a CA was not the best because of the huge costs and the laborious process, Government would go ahead with such a mode because it was the wish of the Zambian people.
“It is therefore sad that we are being told that people want a new Constitution within a few months which is not fair. People should be patient and allow the Constitution process to run and they should agree that huge sums of money which could have been spent on development should be chanelled to this task,” he said.
On complaints by certain quarters of society that the 2006 Electoral Law was inadequate, Mr Mwaanga said such assertions were incorrect.
He explained that certain recommendations made by the Electoral Reform Technical Committee (ERTC) could not be incorporated into the Electoral Law because they would have been in conflict with the Constitution.
Mr Mwaanga also reiterated Government’s commitment to fighting corruption and called for patience among the Zambian people as the graft fight was complex the world over.
“Government is committed and we will remain committed to fighting corruption and that is why we have ratified relevant international protocols to fight this vice. It is not easy to fight corruption and it has remained so the world over but as a Government, we are committed to this fight,” Mr Mwaanga said.