FDD president Edith Nawakwi says the calibre of members of parliament is contributing greatly to the poor performance of the country economically.
And Nawakwi, a former minister of finance, says people need to lower tempers and rework the constitution if the country is to develop.
In an interview, Nawakwi said the current constitution has a lot of lacunas.
“There are a number of misfits in the 2016 constitution, for instance, we have all come to understand, the petition against the PF in the 2016 general elections was thrown out of the ConCourt (Constitutional Court) not on the merit of the arguments but on a technicality of the number of days,” she said.
“I believe honestly deep in my heart that’s an injustice. President Hakainde Hichilema had said that the election was stolen from him. We needed to have heard him present the argument, up to this day we have never heard [his arguments]. For that reason, I thought my contribution to NDF, if only I could help the country, move the petition time from 14 days to even 30 days and define it clearly. I thought I could have done justice to my country. Because [it] is wrong no[t] to hear a petitioner through a case of a technicality, it’s like judgment in default of appearance.”
She said the constitution could not deliver justice on election petitions as was the case in 2016.
“The question is, people right now have many reasons to vote for Edith Nawakwi and not vote for PF or not vote for UPND. When PF petitions me, and I am president in the next 2021 elections, will it be fair for the court to throw out the petition by PF on technicality and not to be heard?” she said.
“On that basis, I think we should calm down our tempers and look at what we need to leave out and what we need to include…. In 2016, I remember I, together with some NGOs, campaigned against the referendum, but we threw away proportional representation which would allow more women and youths in Parliament. In the proposal before the house now, there is a proposal for proportional representation. If we don’t include proportional representation, forget about women representation. This more than anything else compelled me to go to the NDF and plead with everybody.”
Nawakwi said the proposed proportional representation section in the deferred Bill 10 was a progressive article which must be pushed forward.
“Yes, we are happy that a female vice-president we have but that is not enough, we want it to be included in the constitution. For that reason, I am pleading to say let us look at the logic. Many people have said that ‘no’ because the process was not chaired by the church,” she said.
“Unless we change the complexion of that Parliament, it doesn’t matter what laws we have, we are still going to end up where we are. I don’t understand why people did not take on honourbale Alexander Chikwanda when he went to ask for increase in the ceiling after borrowing like he was ordering masuku (wild fruits) from my village and it’s the same members who are saying this is a bad law.”
Nawakwi said the former finance minister was responsible for the current economic poor performance.
“In fact, it is because of honourable Chikwanda why we are in this mess today; the kwacha is trading at K15 per dollar. Even if you have a very good law, if your members of parliament don’t protect you, you are not going to be protected,” said Nawakwi.
“In all honesty, I want the errors in the 2016 constitution cleaned, adequate time for petitions given, I also want a provision that women are guaranteed to be in the legislature and other arms of government through proportional representation.”