Another month, another drafting deadline missed. July 31st was meant to be the day when the Technical Committee handed over its final draft of the new Zambian Constitution to the Ministry of Justice. But guess what? Nothing happened. There was no handover. And Zambians are no closer to knowing what their next constitution will look like. Or indeed whether they are ever going to get a new one.

So what happens now?

Technical committee rejects government's desire for secrecy

MISA condemns threats from local authorities

In all the justified furore about the absurd arrest of a Zambian opposition leader for referring to President Sata as a sweet potato (or defaming him if you have (a) lost touch with reality or (b) are in the upper echelons of the police or ruling Patriotic Front), a crucial issue has been largely overlooked.

Zambia will have a draft constitution by the end of September. A host of deadlines have already come and gone but this one will not be missed says the Technical Committee tasked with drafting the country’s new Supreme Law. But don’t hold your breath.

The current drafting process has already been a torturous ten years in the making, and the goal posts for completion of the final draft have been moved so many times that there was no round of applause over this latest announcement.

Zambian president, Michael Sata, clearly isn’t too concerned about the campaign by civil society groups and opposition parties to have his country expelled from the Commonwealth because of his increasingly autocratic behaviour. Instead, he appears keen – as he often does – to add fuel to the fire rather than trying to douse the flames.

And so it came to pass. After weeks of hate speech and ‘gay-bashing’ by homophobic politicians and religious leaders, two men have been arrested in Zambia for the ‘sin’ of being gay. Ever since Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu launched into his latest anti-homosexual tirade a few weeks ago, it was only a matter of time before the police – and public – took action. And now they have.

“From time immemorial, the middle class has used the lower class to usurp the upper class and immediately that is achieved, the lower classes have been pushed back to their place of servitude” – a very loose paraphrase of George Orwell in his book 1984. But it’s the first thought that came to my mind when I heard newly elected president Michael Sata announce his cabinet.

This was his fourth attempt at the presidency – and aged 74 surely his last. In 2016, he would be too old to run again.

Law Association to challenge colonial law in court

The writing has been on the wall for a long time. But now it’s official. Zambia’s latest constitution drafting process is going to fail – and the blame can be laid squarely at the feet of President Michael Sata and his ruling Patriotic Front.

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