Editor’s note: The referendum failed?
The sceptics were right. It was a really bad idea to mix such an important event as a referendum on the Bill of Rights with the tripartite elections. In amongst all the hullaballoo about the presidential election, no one gives a hoot about the referendum… bar from a few people interested in important but boring issues such as human rights. Four days after the elections, and we still haven’t heard a word about the outcome of the referendum. Nevertheless, this is a far more important election than the presidential one, as we are voting about constitutional issues with implications reaching far into the future, whereas a president only lasts five years. In the same vein, we know next to nothing about the outcome of the elections of MPs, mayors and councillors, except for ad-hoc reports, as no official results have been released. In my first country, Denmark, we vote for central and local governments separately. Piling it all together is simply too much. And the referendum should definitely have been held separately, and probably have included the entire Constitution, as originally planned, rather than simply the Bill of Rights, but that is water under the bridge… or is it? We are yet to be told whether or not enough people voted in the referendum to validate it. If not, the referendum has been a complete waste of time.
Camilla Hebo Buus, Editor Zambia Weekly