IF members of parliament enact the Constitution (Amendment) Bill No.10 within the context, spirit and letter of the NDF resolutions, then I can swear to the living Lord that we shall be moving this country forward, says Rainbow Party general secretary Wynter Kabimba.
And Kabimba says it is clear that the PF has departed from its campaign message of 2010-2011.
Meanwhile, Kabimba says hunger in selected parts of Zambia is an emergency which the government should declare a disaster.
Kabimba, a lawyer, notes that the constitution amendment process has always been a difficult one that has always polarised society.
“This is not the first time that this is happening,” Kabimba said on Prime TV’s ‘Oxygen of Democracy’ programme on Monday night.
“People have divergent views as to what type of the law of the land we should have to govern this society. So, as Rainbow Party, we don’t suffer from any sense of apprehension when we see and listen to these divergent views. It is healthy in a democracy,” he said. “[But] what we find difficult is the vilification, name-calling and intolerance of views that may be different from yours. That is what is unsettling us as Rainbow Party. We don’t have to think the same…. But that is not what we see when it comes to these national debates over issues like the NDF (National Dialogue Forum).”
About his participation at the NDF earlier this year, Kabimba responded: “we believed that we were participating in a process that will assist this country to move forward.”
He said if the argument that those who attended the NDF were surrogates of the governing PF was correct, “it actually means that if we didn’t participate in the NDF we should have been surrogates of somebody else who didn’t participate.”
“That’s what it means, in my view. So we are not going to be surrogates of anybody. We are only going to be surrogates of the Zambian people, as the Rainbow Party,” Kabimba said.
Asked by programme host Alexander Musokotwane if the country has moved forward after the NDF, Kabimba said: “I think we are moving [forward].”
“If the members of parliament enact this Constitution Amendment Bill No.10, within the context, the spirit and letter of the NDF resolutions, then I can swear to the living Lord that we shall be moving this country forward,” Kabimba said, adding that the process of amending the constitution was polarised from the word go.
“Firstly, there was polarisation of the country on who should chair the NDF…. [But] there is no tension in the country! Disagreement among citizens is not tension. Yes, there is disagreement between those that did not participate and those of us that participated in the NDF,” he said. “And I have said that is normal. If you look at what is going on in the United States today, there is disagreement between the Republicans and the Democrats on immigration, this and that but that is not tension.”
On some stakeholders criticising Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini on his handling of the Constitution (amendment) bill, Kabimba indicated that he was the right man for the job.
He stressed that he had great respect for Dr Matibini.
“He is the right man in that job. I was a member of parliament and Minister [of Justice] and he was Speaker. I was able to follow his rulings; [they were] as sober as his rulings were when he was judge of the High Court. It is disappointing that just because he has taken a position by way of a ruling [on the constitution (amendment) bill], then he must be called names. I have a lot of respect for Patrick Matibini, as a lawyer [and] as a judge of the High Court where he came from,” Kabimba said.
Kabimba further noted that hunger in the country could be worse by year-end.
“One of my workers at the farm [in Shibuyunji district] – I recruited him from Kalabo – was telling me that ‘sir, I have to send money to my mother in Kalabo because a bag of maize in Kalabo is now fetching at K160’,” he said.
“So, I’m not theorising but I’m talking about [a] substantive issue [with] evidence on the ground. The hunger situation should be declared a disaster. The man had gone without food for two days. It’s an emergency! If we go into December, it will be worse and the government has no money to buy food.”
Meanwhile, Kabimba reiterated that it was clear that the PF had departed from the campaign message of 2010-2011.
“The PF has become like any other capitalist formation. It is very clear that this is a runaway economy under the PF. The enemy number one of the PF today is the economy. The question is why? It’s because the PF has departed from the manifesto that it had in 2010,” he explained.
Kabimba said the economy at the moment was terrible.
“There is no doubt that PF has failed to manage this economy. An economy which cannot create employment, an economy whose production levels now, coupled with load-shedding, is getting something like 10 per cent if not below, an economy which cannot pay local and foreign contractors, an economy where children are still sitting on the floor in some schools, an economy where you can’t predict the rate of the kwacha tomorrow, an economy where civil servants are being paid two weeks into the next month cannot be described as a good economy,” highlighted Kabimba.
“So the economy is terrible. I read a statement from the Honourable Minister of Information (Dora Siliya) that the Zambian economy is doing very well. I don’t think that is right; that is being economical with the truth.”