The big news in Zambia this past week is that the Constitution Amendment Bill passed the second reading in Parliament. 106 PF and MMD MPs voted in favour defeating UPND and its small UPND leaning MMD faction.
This is a monumental victory for the Zambian people. There was no reason for UPND to oppose the Bill at second reading given that the Bill contained exactly the same clauses as the Draft Constitution.
The Bill now goes to Committee Stage where a simple majority will be sufficient for it to come back to Third Reading. That is when the real hard work begins. And it is at that stage where UPND should have concentrated by positively working to keep the contents, rather than opposing for opposition sake!
If PF decides to get rid of some clauses and insert their own, then MMD may not support the Bill at third reading which may mean the whole thing collapsing. If ECL and NSM play well and patriotically together Zambians may finally have a better Constitution that has elluded us for two decades.
The public mood in Zambia is broadly is strongly in favour of the Constitution Amendment Bill. The support among Zambians abroad is overwhelming. Not everything in the Bill is perfect, but it is vastly better than the status quo.
So we are urging all our readers to get behind this process so we can end decades of constitutional inertia that has only benefited politicians and the so called civil society. Together these two groups have enriched themselves through many allowances in various disguised forums at the expense of the poor.
Most importantly Zambians have endured a difficult year. The potential implementation of the Constitution Amendment Bill gives us something positive to look forward to in 2016 in the midst of dark times. It will begin a new journey for our country. A new hope for the future. This is the leadership Zambians want from our politicians.
Copyright © Zambian Economist 2015