By STEVEN MVULA
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) secretary-general Edgar Lungu has warned the grand coalition on the constitution against using unlawful means to push for the enactment of a new constitution.
Mr Lungu, who is also Minister of Justice and Minister of Defence, said in an interview yesterday that the grand coalition on the constitution is free to demonstrate over the constitution-making process but it should do so within the confines of the law. The grand coalition on the constitution on Saturday threatened to stage mass demonstrations to push for the enactment of a new constitution.
â€œThe grand coalition can take to the streets over the constitution but they must not push us too far. Those who want to be heroes over this matter will end being â€˜zerosâ€™,â€ Mr Lungu said
The minister said Government will release the new constitution at an appropriate time but that there is aÂ functional constitution in place for now.
â€œGovernment is a stakeholder in this constitutional process. But if these people are going to put a gun to our head demandingÂ a new constitution, how will we give it to them?â€ he said
Mr Lungu said there are many â€œrosy and romanticâ€ ideas in the draft constitution, which cannot come to fruition.
He said the technical committee on drafting the constitution abrogated its terms and dumped the document at the Ministry of Justice instead of handing it over to Secretary to the Cabinet Roland Msiska.
â€œTomorrow [today], I am having a meeting with the Secretary to the Cabinet and the Attorney-General to decide the way forward on the constitution. If they (grand coalition) force us, we will give them the document and we will fold our hands to delay it further,â€ Mr Lungu said
The minister also said a referendum is a very costly undertaking and warned that some clauses in the draft constitution might cause the entire process to collapse.
He alleged some people just want to make names out of the issue of the constitution.
â€œThese people must be sober in their demands for a new constitution. If they want to become politicians let them join us so that they face us,â€ Mr Lungu said
Meanwhile, Mr Lungu said he will expend his energies on the PF winning all the forthcoming parliamentaryÂ by-elections in Kasenengwa, Vubwi, Zambezi West and Mkushi South scheduled for September 11.
By STEVEN MVULA