Eleven opposition political parties have written an open letter to President Hakainde Hichilema raising a number of issues such as the alleged secretive commencement of the constitution making process.
In a letter dated October 4, 2023, the 11 opposition leaders accused Hichilema’s administration of secretively moving to amend the Republican Constitution by asking the public to submit recommendations on non-contentious issues.
New Heritage Party leader, Chishala Kateka, announced the contents of the letter at a media briefing in Lusaka on Wednesday on behalf of other opposition leaders.
The group bemoaned the lack of a clear roadmap and no consultative process in place to guide the constitution making process.
“Given the lack of criteria on what constitutes non-contentious, we do not think that these non-transparent efforts represent the best way of carrying our constitutional reform forward,” Kateka said.
She added that the only objective for the clandestine moves could be to remove popular clauses such as that relating to the running mate and the 50+1 clause.
On governance, the opposition parties noted that there was a shrinking democratic space, a steep rise in poverty levels, high unemployment levels and the suffering of Zambians due to severe economic hardships.
They also noted that, in spite of a number of pronouncements to the effect that these issues will be dealt with, there appeared to be lack of progress being made with their resolution and Zambians have continued to suffer the effects arising from these issues.
In the letter, the group said the opposition wanted Hichilema’s government to deal with the high cost of living which had resulted in the high price of commodities such as mealie meal, fuel, cooking oil and electricity among others.
Kateka, speaking for the opposition, said they were concerned with the rise in arbitrary arrests and constant harassment of members of the opposition.
They also alleged “Lack of transparency around large scale public procurement of commodities such as fuel, fertilizer, power purchase agreements under ZESCO, issuance and distribution of exploration, mining and timber licensing.”
The group called on government to consider holding a national indaba involving various Stakeholders with capacity to offer cogent solutions to resolve the plethora of issues currently facing the nation, be called.
“It is in the best interest of both the ruling and opposition political parties as well as that of Zambians, that the nation embarks on a trajectory of unity, peace, growth and prosperity as soon as possible,” they said.
The 11 opposition parties include, All People’s Congress Party (APC), Citizens First, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Economic Front (EF), Golden Party (GP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Heritage Party (NHP), Patriots for Economic Progress (PEP), Patriotic Front (PF), Socialist Party (SP) and Zambia Must Prosper (ZMP).
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