Drop Bill 10: Why Zambians are taking the “Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill” personally
By Elias Munshya
Obliterating the Personal?
One of the first things that get destroyed when a dictatorship is trying to entrench itself is personal responsibility and personal accountability. When a government wants to kill and maim its people, it first begins by depersonalising them and the issues that concern them. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Justice Minister is calling for the depersonalisation of the constitution debate process. Once the person is removed from the narrative, it could be more comfortable for the government to push through its changes.
Our gallant duty as a people during a time such as this is to make it very clear to the powers that be, that any amendment to the supreme law of the land is a personal issue for all Zambians. When people gather together to conspire against the people of Zambia, it is the duty of the people to make it very clear to those in power, that the people will not take these machinations while lying down.
Bill 10 did not just create itself. People who had a motive designed it. How then can the Justice Minister claim that fighting Bill 10 should not be personal? It is persons who made Bill 10, it will be persons to fight it, and it will be persons to tell other persons that this Bill must not become law.
Human Rights are Personal Rights
Bill 10 is personal in the sense that it touches on individual rights of the people of Zambia. If Bill 10 were to go through and become law, it would fundamentally disturb the personal rights of the citizens of Zambia and the way they exercise those rights. Any law that affects the individual rights of the people is a personal law, and its consequences are therefore personal. If Bill 10 passed, it would affect how Zambians exercise the individual right of electing their President. Bill 10 will so fundamentally alter the people’s right to vote because suddenly and without much explanation, a president will now be chosen not by the people, but through backroom deals in an ill-defined “coalition”.
Bill 10 explicitly refuses to acknowledge any role for Barotseland. It empowers the President of Zambia with a unilateral power to split provinces and to create new provinces, without recourse to the people concerned or to the Parliament of Zambia. Barotseland, therefore, is at the disposal of the unilateral power of the President to do with it, whatever the President wishes. Just when we were hoping that wounds of Barotseland could be healed by acknowledging its constitutional status within a united Zambia, Mr. Lubinda comes up with a Bill that completely undermines the viability of a united nation. A President empowered through Bill 10 can dismantle Barotseland ignroing the constitutional structure that should have given some concessions for Barotseland. This is not right.
Bill is personal due to the treachery that is behind its creation. Mr Lubinda is a traitor to the democratic character of the republic. He has personally accepted to be used as a tool to entrench a dictatorship. The changes he is pushing through are changes he has personally sanctioned knowing full well that these changes do not enhance our country’s democratic spirit. This traitor, masquerading as a Justice Minister, should know that the people of Zambia will not allow him to manipulate them into accepting a constitutional amendment that makes Zambians become slaves to the presidency.
What is even making it worse for Mr Lubinda is the arrogance with which he is approaching this issue. We wonder, is it because he considers himself a Zayello that he would be this arrogant as to insult the people of Zambia with a Bill that will permanently kill their democracy? Being a Zayello aside, my three Lozi children should never have to live in a society in which they are made to feel like Lozis are the tools that other Zambians used to destroy Zambian democracy. If Zambia is one nation – then we must desist from this system of other tribes conspiring against the nation by using Mwanalushis, Lubindas or Kalalukas. If Lungu wants to destroy Zambian democracy, why doesn’t he do so with a Justice Minister or Attorney General from Petauke? That way, Lozis will not be close to this narrative.
Just as many people do know very well, tribalism in Zambia is worse against Lozis, and Tongas – at least it is perceived that way. Tomorrow, Lozis may be blamed by the tribalists for this Lubinda’s machinations. Lozi citizens should refuse to be used like this, because tomorrow, once the tribalistic history is written, it will not be said that Lungu destroyed democracy. It will be said that Dr. Lungu destroyed democracy using tools that were well sculptured for the President’s use: Muyunda Mwanalushi, Lubinda and Kalaluka.
How Can This Be Normal?
Mr Lubinda knew that the NDF was a tool of his creation to push through the changes he already envisaged. He envisaged these changes personally. He then invited pseudo-intellectual quacks to be the theory behind the NDF discussions. They then designed a Bill that lacks coherence. This is the Bill that proposes to abolish Articles 68, 69, 70, 71, and 72 of the Constitution of Zambia, without offering an alternative solution. The Bill eliminates these Articles and then remains mute on their replacement. How can this treachery be reasonable? How can this be considered normal in a democratic society?
Suggested Citation: Munshya, E. (2019). Drop Bill 10: Why Zambians are taking the “Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill” personally. Elias Munshya Blog (www.eliasmunshya.org) (July 24, 2019).
Note: Elias Munshya writes for Zambia’s Mast Newspaper and a version of this article may have been published on July 24, 2019, in the print and electronic editions of the newspapers.