By Judith Mulenga
Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) Chairperson
Lusaka, Tuesday 17th August, 2021:
THE Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) congratulates the people of Zambia for once again demonstrating to ourselves and others of our unshakable belief in democracy.
The large numbers that voted and in doing so unequivocally replaced a corrupt stifling dictatorship of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu with that of the President Elect Hakainde Hichilema under very oppressive and repressive conditions is nothing short of a miracle.
CiSCA wholeheartedly congratulates the United Party for National Development for affirming the tenets of democracy by the Party’s consistency, perseverance in the harsh environment of the opposition among most of the party’s rank and file when it was far much easier for individuals to defect to the ruling party because it was the only party with a ‘clear development agenda,‘ as per the defecting mantra.
CiSCA is hopeful that the President Elect’s maiden press briefing on 16th August 2021 set a progressive tone of pledging his administration’s upholding of human rights, constitutionalism, non-interference in state institutions, zero tolerance to cadre terror, non-tolerance to corruption, promotion of unity and most critical, revamping the economy.
All these a positive marked departure from what was prevailing in the previous regime leading to Zambians resounding rejection on the 12th of August 2021.
However, like the English adage goes, ‘the proof is in the pudding,’ because Zambians have heard these good intentions before’.
Other than the previous ruling parties, CiSCA contends that the other parties’ loss was not an outright rejection by the Zambian people but fitting into the election’s trajectory of giving a chance to the longest serving opposition party.
Therefore, to the other candidates CiSCA asks you to stay focused and be consistent and we the Zambian people who have the ultimate authority will give you a chance in the future.
In congratulating HH, CiSCA has the following asks:
As per the UPND’s manifesto, CiSCA would like to see the immediate revisiting and hopefully final people driven review of our Constitution not only to deal with the lacunas that were caused by PF dominated National Assembly’s cherry picking of the so called non-controversial provisions in the final draft of the Technical Committee on the Constitution but also to comprehensively expand the Bill of Rights to include economic social and cultural rights.
The Bill of Rights to further include special rights for the usually marginalized sectors of our society. However, this should be done through building consensus among citizens if the new constitutional order is to engender loyalty and legitimacy.
Electoral Commission of Zambia
As per the new ruling party’s manifesto, CiSCA requests the immediate prioritizing the strengthening of the Electoral Commission of Zambia by guaranteeing not only its independence but also strengthening its capacity.
The high levels of anxiety that each general election brings to this nation is unacceptable in the digital age. There is too much hustle and bumbling from registration, to campaigns, to voting, to counting and announcements.
Voter education should be continuous and not be an event. The number of spoiled ballots at 124,906 thus far recorded, far surpassing the collective number of votes for numbers 3 to 15 presidential candidates is not only embarrassing but is a violation of the right to vote.
CiSCA noted the President Elect’s assurance of the safety of the outgoing President and his cohort.
Well and good but there is unfinished business with the Zambians. We want all the funds stolen back to a ngwee.
Mr. President Elect you can cozy up all you like but recover and give us back our money! Use it to improve our schools so as they look like real learning centres and not deserted beehives!
Pay our retirees immediately! Zambia being among the 5 hungriest nations in the world as per the Global Hunger Index, use the money to expand the numbers of social cash transfers beneficiaries.
CiSCA is happy that the usual suspects aligned to grand theft won Parliamentary seats and therefore they are within reach of retrieving our money.
CiSCA contends that they probably used our money to lay out massive campaigns that poor hungry voters could not resist and therefore leading to their victory.
We want each and every coin back in our public coffers.
CiSCA applauds the President Elect’s intention of uniting the nation from the worst polarisations that Zambia has ever had the misfortune to experience.
Nonetheless, CiSCA has noted that in Zambia there is a kafkan type of metamorphosis after each election when the losing side and violent cadres suddenly disappear only to remerge in the ruling party.
This has contributed to former ruling parties going into oblivion immediately after losing power and just existing by name. This has also contributed to a weakening of our democracy by ruling parties desperately making serious sometimes criminal efforts to hang on to power at whatever cost.
Therefore, CiSCA urges the new ruling party not to embrace former PF members no matter how lowly they claim they want to contribute or to work with your party.
Thank them for the offer but reject them. Yes politics is about numbers and you have your numbers.
Your necessary numbers are the millions that voted for you. Kwamana!
Toxic politicians should remain ku wire.
The nation knows who these are.
Mr. President we as CiSCA are happy that in your maiden speech there was some connotation of Zambia finally getting our Right to Information Act.
We therefore request you to show goodwill by restoring the Post Newspaper’s assets to the owner and work out a payment plan for the proprietor(s) for the unpaid taxes as per the court ruling. Restore Prime Television.
Restructure, rebrand and commercialize the public media houses such as Times of Zambia, Daily Mail and Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation to give confidence to us the public.
In their current forms and organizational cultures these media houses are untenable. Maintain ZANIS for government information.
ZICTA, NHIMA, IBA
CiSCA requests you Mr. President to disband authorities that just serve the purpose of providing employment to supporters or ruling party sympathizers and place their functions in the relevant government ministries. Judith Mulenga CiSCA Chairperson