Chonya is among some opposition UPND lawmakers that have obeyed the party position to boycott that dialogue process that is meant to iron out some lingering constitutional clauses.
Some UPND MPs have defied the party position and are in attendance at the National Dialogue Forum.
“Doing so would be operating within the confines of a law which is in conflict with the supreme law of the land, the Republican Constitution. The Act has flaws which we were concerned about and remained unresolved despite the recommendations of many stakeholders,” Chonya said.
“The 10-Day Forum is meant to look at Constitutional amendments, the Public Order Act, the Political Parties Bill and the Electoral Process Act. It was a submission of many stakeholders that the timeframe allocated for the exercise was inadequate, and the undertaking would therefore be another futile exercise at great national expense, which is imprudent and undesirable with our current economic situation.”
Chonya said that key stakeholders like the church mother bodies have been left out the process taking away from its integrity.
She said that she would risk the consequences of boycotting in order to respect her conscience.
“Interestingly, the Act provides for penalties through a fine or imprisonment for a period up to six months, or both, for anyone who fails to attend or appear before the Forum when required to do so. It further provides for a jail term for anyone influencing someone not to attend or interfering with the proceedings of the Forum for a period between 1 to 3 years!” she said.
“Where is the constitutional guarantee of the Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Choice, the right to share ideas, the Freedom of Conscience, and all those rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights?”