CONSTITUTIONAL lawyer John Sangwa says Bill 10 was conceived with the aim of helping the PF and President Edgar Lungu win the 2021 election.
Sangwa, who was speaking during Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) organised policy conference in Lusaka, said President Lungu was well aware of the possible outcome of next year’s general elections.
He said if indeed it was not meant to win elections, Bill 10 should be postponed to after 2021 polls.
“Somebody comes up and says there are lacunas in the Constitution, [and] I don’t know if they even know what lacunas are. When you argue that there is a lacuna, it means you don’t accept the constitution as the supreme law of the land. You have to accept the constitution as it is not as what you think it ought to be because we can never have consensus on what we think the constitution should be. We have different views,” Sangwa said.
“Here is the real reason behind Bill 10. It is the realisation of how easy it is to lose power. That is the real reason. They realised how much power had been taken from the office of President.”
Sangwa charged that given the debt levels of the country, the PF cannot convince Zambians to vote them in again.
“President Lungu won the 2016 election with 50.3 per cent, translating into 13,000 votes. Would you like to go in the next election…forget your eligibility for a moment, you survive by 13,000 votes, are you going to have a go under the same arrangement? That is why you have this bogus thing about coalition government in Bill 10. Where did that come from in the first place? It’s crazy but this is something you are doing with yourself in mind. This is what Bill 10 is designed to achieve,” he said. “My position is that he is not eligible to stand again but even if hypothetically he was, the bottom line is that he does not clearly see himself…First of all it is impossible for him to get 50.3 per cent which he got and he knows that. You can put up a few fancy roads and everything but with a debt of $20 billion and with your currency down the toilet, how do you explain that?”
Sangwa said those in the government know the mood of the people.
“These things are not conceived in a vacuum, they have read the mood, they know what they are dealing with. This is what Bill 10 is all about. They are doing this with themselves in mind, that is why I have opposed this because the Constitution as we have it is the best constitution we have ever had in this country. In any case, if you are convinced that this has nothing to do with winning elections, why don’t we postpone the debate to after elections?” Sangwa said. “There is a lot of rubbish in Bill 10, not all of it is harmful. There is a lot of nonsense in it but that is just designed to camouflage within their…there are key provisions that are likely to alter the character of the Constitution and that is what needs to be focused on.”
Bill 10 returns to Parliament today despite having been widely rejected by members of the opposition and the civil society who say it is a political tool that the PF wants to use to hang on to power.