Enoch Kavindele says four former vice-presidents have sought audience with President Edgar Lungu to discuss, among other issues, the wider implications of the Grade 12 election qualification requirement.
“Speaking good English cannot be a measure of wisdom or intelligence. In RSA (Republic of South Africa) debates in Parliament are in indigenous languages, to give an opportunity to everyone to understand what their MPs are saying in Parliament…What if those without qualifications decide to boycott going to voting? It’s possible that they can say let them vote for themselves,” says Kavindele. “This is a non-partisan issue. But this is a national issue whose far-reaching implications will affect everyone, irrespective of the political party they belong to. In Tanzania, debates are in Ki Swahili. The requirement of a Grade 12 certificate is discriminatory and discrimination was part of the objections by the people of Zambia who fought during the struggle for independence. G12 requirement is divisive because it pits those with the qualification against the majority who are without. During the struggle for independence, discrimination was one of the elements that the Zambian people fought against…Most likely, after this year’s elections, there will be many legal issues involving people who would have forged their way into office. [There could be] people who would have bribed officials of the ECZ (Electoral Commission of Zambia) to accept their [academic] papers. So, we could spend the next five years just in courts, establishing how certain people got into Parliament.”
It’s very difficult to understand the reasoning behind this grade 12 certificate requirement.
This requirement has impacted seriously on our citizens. Right from inception, in 2016, a number of incumbent MPs were knocked out of the race to Manda Hill by the very education requirement which they helped birth – passing that constitutional amendment.
But the Constitutional Court ruling has even worsened the matter – majority of would be candidates have fallen short of the requirement.
In a country where education is not a right and majority of our population can hardly afford a meal, habitable shelter, piped water and other sanitation services, minimum healthcare, labouring for a child’s school fees becomes a luxury.
This education requirement is not only undemocratic given our circumstances but a serious indictment on the human rights of our people. This has happened because some leader in an unexplained circumstances assented to that amended Constitution with his eyes closed!
On top of all this we have one Edgar Lungu who is circumventing the very Constitution he birthed to go for a third term! What is wrong with this country? What kind of world, nationhood, are we creating for ourselves?
As Fidel Castro put it, “Our world order appears to have been designed to foster the egoism, individualism and dehumanisation of humanity”.
Edgar’s Constitution is a betrayal to the masses, which perpetuation must be brought to an end!