From preparation to presentation of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019, it was clear that the intentions were not in public interest.
First of all, it started with proposals for national dialogue.
Remember that when the Church was chosen to spearhead the national reconciliation process, Edgar Lungu and his Patriotic Front developed cold feet. They suddenly became uncomfortable with having the Church as a mediator in the dialogue process.
Various political players and stakeholders were invited and they agreed to be sat down by the Church to discuss national issues. Later, Edgar and his team withdrew and called the Church all sorts of names; he did not trust them. He was convinced the Church would frustrate his evil motive. Then came the controversial National Dialogue Forum (NDF) which all serious stakeholders boycotted because it was not well intentioned. It is this NDF which gave birth to the now infamous Bill 10.
A lot of things have happened towards the presentation of Bill 10 to the National Assembly. First, Edgar was very sure that the Bill would pass with ease. When he interacted with journalists at State House this year and asked why he could not hold the process, Edgar responded with certainty that the Bill would go through because the PF had the numbers. According to him, all the work had been done, it was just a matter of rubber stamping. But, as they say, the rest is history; Bill 10 is still hanging by a thread.
Now we hear that independent members of parliament are blackmailing him over Bill 10. They want to trade their Bill 10 vote with adoption on the PF ticket in next year’s general elections. Equally, unpopular PF members of parliament, including Cabinet ministers, are trading their vote for Bill 10 with re-adoption.
It’s understandable considering how most MPs were left in the cold in 2016 after passing a constitution that requires one to have a minimum Grade 12 certificate to contest an election!
And because Edgar is eager to see the bill pass, he has placed his political fate in the hands of these members of parliament. Interestingly, senior members of the PF central committee are questioning Edgar’s push for Bill 10. They are also worried that the situation could lead to the PF losing power next year.
Edgar has gone out of the way, frustrating every debate against Bill 10. Through his agents, Edgar has attacked legal experts on constitutionalism, civil society organisations, and all other interest groups. Edgar has literally paralysed these voices. He has also attacked media institutions that have provided platforms for open debate on this divisive bill.
And remember allegations by the UPND in the last session of parliament to the effect that PF members were moving with “sacks of money” ready to buy opposition MPs to pass Bill 10.
Even now as citizens are ordered to stay home and strictly adhere to public health measures, Edgar and his PF have mobilised surrogate NGOs, clergymen and women, traditional leaders and all sorts of sycophants to help him in this process – they’re all over campaigning.
No wonder he was so confident that the Bill would pass on the first day.
But, we ask, what has been Edgar’s motive? What is he trying to achieve with this bill? Why has it become more important than any other project he has ever embarked on? But it is clear now that there are serious cracks within his own party, the PF. Many of his members have seen and appreciated the evil intentions of Bill 10. They have interacted with other members of the public and they have heard apprehensions about this evil project. In fact, most PF members have seen that Bill 10 has pushed them off their political fortunes. What awaits them is a shameful loss next year.
Just as the ancient saying goes, “Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.” We feel this is what is happening to Edgar. He is certainly headed for destruction. A big blow will come from his own party.