Guy Scott Ignorant On Constitution – Batuke Imenda [document]

United Party for National Development, UPND, national coordinator Batuke Imenda has charged that Vice-President Guy Scott displayed massive ignorance of constitutional making processes in the country when he featured on the a ZNBC television programme.

Below is the full statement

OFFICIAL REACTION

VP Scott’s interview on ZNBC

On the 10th of June, 2014

The Vice President was interviewed by Kenneth Maduma on a number of issues affecting the country. They ranged from the constitution crisis, President Sata’s health, the kwacha depreciation, up to the demolition of homes in Kitwe.

On the constitution-making process:

The interview was characterized by the VP showing total personal confidence and arrogance in response to the issues raised. The VP showed total ignorance as to how the last constitutional review process had been undertaken. He mocked the idea that it was a people’s driven constitution as, in his opinion it was created by a “certain committee.” The fact is that the constitution process was people driven as the committee had travelled around the 10 provinces of Zambia and received contribution from members of the public. Secondly, there was a constitution review conference organized at Mulungushi Conference Centre with the intention of receiving comments from various stakeholders.

The VP concluded by saying that the current proposed constitution is not satisfactory but he did not specify what was wrong. He however did not rule out a new constitution by 2016. On the other hand Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba informed people in Petauke that the constitution process is stalled but PF will continue endeavoring to have a people’s driven constitution. The VP has shown the arrogance of the party by declaring that the process was not people-driven. One wonders why they had paid all those allowances to the committee members, the participants of the constitution making process and the various miscellaneous costs involved with the ?

The remark by the VP is contrary to what the Justice Minister – who happens to be the ruling party’s CEO as Secretary General. This is a sign a big division in the ruling party as regards to what to do with the constitutional process and let alone, putting in place a new constitution. Anyway, one does not need to take the VP’s remarks seriously as he is on record saying “Kabimba is boss”. But we are looking at what he is saying because he is officially the second most important person in the country after the president.

On depreciation of the kwacha.

On this one too, the VP showed totally lack of knowledge of how the foreign exchange market operates and factors that affect the exchange rate of the kwacha. The VP would have done better by recommending that the interviewer talks to BoZ andor Ministry Finance officials.

Equipped with this ignorance, the VP went on to blame the free-float exchange rate as the cause of the depreciation of the kwacha. What Guy Scott was essentially saying was that he is pro exchange controls. He went on to say that the depreciation of the kwacha by 25% was no big deal! This was a sign of total misunderstanding of the consequences of such an increase (especially on those small SMEs who are importers and their profit margin is less than 25%).

However, he correctly observed Zambia’s failure to produce various products for export and the failure to accumulate foreign exchange all these have led to increased poverty and underdevelopment in Zambia. But the VP did not mention how his government’s failure to properly tax the mines and control money flows as a result of copper exports, is one of the major reasons for the depreciation of the kwacha. He equally failed to mention that the massive foreign debt his government is accumulating is also responsible for the depreciation of the kwacha. There is also unpredictability relating to the Presidency, which is a potential instability factor that currency speculators are utilizing to benefit from the further depreciation of the kwacha.

In his usual stance, he down-played the role played by BoZ and Ministry of Finance officials in their failure to stabilize the kwacha. He thought that BoZ intervention was right and at an appropriate time. Yet, everybody knows that BoZ’s reaction was belated and undertaken with so much pomposity that the currency speculators were ready to “swallow up” any reserves BoZ put on the market. Therefore, BoZ’s interference was a total failure that just enriched a few currency speculators and made imports much more expensive. Yet the VP is on public TV saying BoZ’s actions were correct.

From our standpoint, Guy Scott missed an opportunity to explain policy to the nation. But on the one hand we understand, if “DONCHI KUBEBA” was all there was to the PF campaign while in opposition, we should not expect anything from Guy Scott and his cohort because their prime preoccupation in 2011 and before was to get into Government for the sake of themselves and no one else. We did not cover the President’s health and Guy’s comments because we do not believe that Guy Scott, was competent to handle that question even if he made a mess of it when he attempted to answer it.

Batuke Imenda

UPND National Coordinator

Source : Zambia Reports

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