Withdraw the constitution Amendment Bill immediately – Dr M’membe

By Staff Reporter

SOCIALIST Party 2021 presidential candidate Dr Fred M’membe has called for immediate withdrawal of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 as it is not acceptable to the Zambian people.

Speaking to Journalists during a press briefing at his office in Garden compound in Lusaka this morning, Dr M’membe observed that the amendment Bill had only reinforced divisions even among those who sponsored it.

“Therefore, the only reasonable thing to do is to withdraw it. It must be withdrawn immediately,” said Dr M’membe.

He said that there was need to 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 was not surprising that the Constitution (Amendment) Bill that has come out of it was not acceptable to our people,” said Dr. M’membe.

“After putting up the so-called National Dialogue and Reconciliation Forum at such a huge cost we ask, what type of dialogue took place there and where are its results? 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,” he explained.

Dr M’membe said that like all ill-intentioned schemes, NDF had clearly failed was being repudiated even by its very own sponsors, where it had effectively become ‘an orphan’.

“NDF brought together already reconciled people – supporters, sympathisers and friends of those in government. But of what value was 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,” said Dr M’membe.

“Today they are differing, disagreeing with each other over the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 which came out of their resolutions. What was this telling us? It was indicating to us that we need to go back to genuine dialogue and reconciliation with each other,” he said

Dr M’membe called for genuine dialogue, reconciliation that would build consensus on a number of issues, including the Constitution.

“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,” he said

Dr M’membe urged government to retreat and allow genuine dialogue, reconciliation and consensus building on all serious issues that today divide the people of Zambia.

“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, “he said

Dr M’membe said the country deserved a non partisan Republican Constitution and not a manifesto disguised as a magna carta.

He called for service to that nation devoid of the nightmare of the last few years, which the people had been subjected to.

“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,” said Dr M’membe.

He said there was no alternative to genuine dialogue that would bring people with divergent views together.

“We are leaving in a mult-party political dispensation, we are leaving in a plural political society, we will never be able to have one voice, they will always be many voices. We will not all of us hold the same opinions, they will be many different opinions. We will not all of us hold the same ideas, they will be many different ideas, but all these different ideas, different opinions, different statements have to be harmonized,” he said.

Dr M’membe said different opinions and ideas needed to be harmonized through genuine process of consensus building.

“It doesn’t pay much to talk to people who agree with you. What pays more is to pay attention to the views, to the ideas, to the opinions, to the statements, to the feelings of those you disagree with, those who oppose you, those you detest, that is what living in a democratic political dispensation entail,” he advised.