Zambia deserves complete Constitutional overhaul CiSCA’s John Hard Mambo prods Justice Minister Given Lubinda
Bishop John Hard Mambo
Chairperson – #CivilSocietyConstitutionAgenda #CiSCA
PRESS STATEMENT LUSAKA, 5TH SEPTEMBER 2018
The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) has taken note with interest the intimation by the Minister of Justice, Hon. Given Lubinda, to proceed with the tabling of the ‘refined’ draft constitution before the National Assembly due to the delay in commencement of the much-anticipated national dialogue.
CiSCA’s view is that the constitution amendment process should not be delayed any further in view of the few years remaining to the 2021 General Elections. The delay in the constitution amendment process may cause delays in the much-needed electoral reforms ahead of the 2021 elections.
However CiSCA is also mindful that what has led to Zambia having a ‘messy constitution,’ as earlier pronounced by Hon Lubinda, and consequently requiring amendments hardly 2 years after it was enacted and publicly assented to was the PF’s insistency and deviation from the 2011 original plan of a wholesome overhaul of the entire constitution and subjecting the whole document to a referendum.
Instead the PF against much objection from other stakeholders chose to have a piecemeal amendment of the constitution relying on their arrogance of numbers in the National Assembly to pass a constitution which they thought would suit their needs.
Therefore, CiSCA is of the view that before the amendment bill is tabled in the National Assembly, there is need for a small group of renowned independent constitutional experts both international and local to review not only the current messy Constitution (Act No. 2 of 2016), but also the submissions of the post 2016 consultations and the 2014 Report of the Technical Committee on Drafting the Constitution to bring the constitution in line with internationally acclaimed best constitutions while maintaining our national context.
We reiterate that the refinement of the constitution cannot be left to this National Assembly which was the architect of the messy constitution anyway. It defies logic how Parliament can be expected to be at the forefront of solving a problem they created themselves. After the experts have refined the constitution as submitted by the Zambian people through all consultations that have taken place in this country since before independence, then the document can be presented to the National Assembly for enactment only.
CiSCA further emphasises the need for the logical conclusion of the Constitution making process instituted by the late President Michael Sata in 2011 by expanding the Bill of Rights, as per the Zambian people’s wishes, through a stand-alone referendum before 2021. – Issued by: Bishop John H. Mambo Chairperson – #CivilSocietyConstitutionAgenda #CiSCA