ALLIANCE for Community Action programmes manager Bornwell Mwewa says the general feeling of the Zambian people is that they are against constitution amendment bill number 10.
And Maiko Zulu says Zambia is currently at the crossroads.
Speaking after an interactive discussion on bill 10 organised by Action Aid in Chipata on Saturday, Mwewa said he had noted that there was no place in Zambia where people were in support of bill 10.
“We have not found a community where people are in support of bill 10 all over the country. In Livingstone, Mongu, everywhere you go; Copperbelt, there is no place where people are in support of bill 10. So the question is: who is this bill for, if the citizens don’t want it? Who are you changing the constitution for? Who are the people that went to that NDF (National Dialogue Forum) and who are the people who want this bill to be passed? This bill is not for the people of Zambia,” he said.
Mwewa appealed to members of parliament, both from the ruling and opposition, to put their feet down and reject the bill.
“They (MPs) are fighting the last battle for us, they are the last champions for Zambians, they should completely refuse this bill. But government has an opportunity now, Minister of Justice Given Lubinda can withdraw this bill because the voices from all over the country are saying they don’t want this bill. People have read through the bill and we have explained and they have said no, they do not want this bill to be passed into law, so my general feeling is that this is a reflection of Zambia,” he said.
On Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja’s warning over protests, Mwewa said there was no law in Zambia that gave the police power to stop protests.
Mwewa said it was not the job of the police to choose who should protest and who should not.
Earlier, Zulu, who explained the yellow card campaign, said the referee on bill 10 were the Zambians.
Zulu said the country was currently on the crossroads.
“Where we are as a country, we are at what I may call crossroads in the sense that for a very long time people from the times of UNIP have been voting, came the democracy, the MMD era, still people having been voting. We have been very consistent and very respectful, very responsible citizens in saying ‘let us create and build our democracy’ as a country because from the UNIP era where the President had too much power over the people, we said ‘we want democracy now’ and we brought in the MMD,” he said.
Zulu said Zambians have built the democracy from the idea of oneness.
He said Zambia was going through some of the hardest economic times.
Zulu said Zambia had one of the largest copper reserves but the mines belong to foreigners.
“Today the Chinese have more power in our country than ourselves. I am not saying Chinese are bad people, Chinese have been here from Kaunda days but it is the manner in which we have accepted to be disadvantaged by external forces and we remain poor as Zambians. For me as a citizen, I take it as my responsibility to stand up on issues that affect not only me but the rest of the Zambians. Today, we are discussing bill 10 which is very contentious because once the bill passes, there are issues that will go on to change the political landscape, the social landscape of our country,” he said.
Zulu said the yellow card campaign was not only on bill 10 but a lot of other issues like corruption and governance, among others.
And some Chipata residents who attended the meeting rejected bill 10.
Rose Shawa likened bill 10 to groundnuts, saying people cannot eat both good and bad groundnuts together.
“Ngati mwalya nshaba zoola nazabwino ndiyekuti zonse muzivulula pamodzi, chimodzi na bill 10, twabwino tulimo koma pakuti muli naviipa, tivulule pamodzi (if you eat rotten and good groundnuts, you spit out everything. The same with bill ten there are few good things but we are spitting them together),” said Shawa.
Brian Nkunika from Action Aid urged Zambians to stand up for what is right for their own good.