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Read road map, make comments

THE release of the proposed road map for the enactment of a new constitution by the government is a step in the right direction.
It has no doubt brought new momentum to the constitution-making process in the country.
We are confident that Zambians will take time to study the document and make necessary observations on how it can be strengthened.
The government has shown commitment to delivering a people-driven constitution, which Minister of Justice Edgar Lungu demonstrated by releasing the final draft shortly after late President Sata appointed him to this position.
Mr Lungu then assured the nation that he would work hard to ensure the country has a new constitution as soon as possible.
He, however, warned that rushing the process would not benefit the nation.
There was need for wider consultation and national consensus.
Since the campaigns for next week’s presidential election began, the need for a new constitution has been one of the favourite issues for speakers.
Some sections of our society have even been using it as a political tool against the government.
For example, the Grand Coalition has been threatening to campaign against any candidate who will not sign a social contract with the people of Zambia with a commitment to deliver the new constitution. The media has lately been replete with coercive statements from some civil society organisations, directed at the ruling party.
But the release of the proposed roadmap by the Ministry of Justice has proven that the anxiety is baseless.
The government has repeatedly assured the nation that it has not deviated from the constitution-making process.
To buttress that assurance, it released the proposed road map on     Wednesday.
Ministry of Justice permanent secretary Patricia Jere released the draft road map in Lusaka.
The plan will facilitate the preparation of terms of reference for the constitution implementation team as well as a draft bill that will protect and guide the remaining phases of the constitution review process.
This phase constitutes the beginning of the validation of the contents of the final draft of the new constitution.
It is clear that a lot of work has been done behind the scene.
We urge the stakeholders who have been hollering for the road map to engage with its content and make submissions on their observations.
The proposed road map will facilitate the finalisation of the printing of copies of the interim final report for the wide distribution to the public.
It also paves the way for the distribution of the interim draft constitution and interim final report through various stakeholders including the church, non-governmental organisations and members of Parliament.
The proposed road map looks elaborate and should give the nation confidence that the nation will have a new constitution.
We note that the proposed road map provides for wide participation, and are confident that if it is implemented, it has the potential to produce a truly people-driven constitution.
Those who had expressed misgivings about the government’s intentions on the constitution should now refocus their advocacy and mobilise the people to read and make comments on the document.
The constitution is the most important law of any democratic country because in it the people state in clear language how they will be governed, how their leaders will ascend to public office and what they are expected to do for the people.
It is for this reason we should all work together to ensure that when it becomes law, it will reflect the aspiration of the nation.