Viewpoint: Why Is HH Rejecting Constitution Amendments?

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Since the 2016 elections Mr Hakainde Sammy Hichilema has been crying for constitutional amendments claiming that the current Constitution has a lot of lacunas and inconsistencies.

The Constitution of Zambia gives Parliament legislative authority to enact and amend laws.

There is no single entity, not the church, not the President, not the PF, not the Judiciary, not any other institution under our laws that has the mandate to change or amend the Republican Constitution other than Parliament.

On 11 and 12th June, 2018, all political parties, that is PF, UPND, FDD, MMD and political parties outside Parliament met in Siavonga and AGREED that there was urgent need to amend our Republican Constitution in view of its several lacunas and inconsistencies.

And in trying to achieve our collective goal of refining the Constitution, Government embarked on an open process of collecting views and submissions from all stakeholders. Government has since proposed a road map for constitutional reforms which has been approved by Parliament.

Like i earlier wrote, since the 2016 elections Mr Hakainde Sammy Hichilema has been crying for constitutional amendments claiming that the current Constitution has alot of lacunas and inconsistencies.

And to hear ba Sammy, the man who has been crying for Constitutional Reforms, today directing his MPs not to support the proposed constitutional reforms is flabbergasting and unfathomable.

What is it that Mr Sammy Hakainde Hichilema want? Does he want reforms or he wants the status quo to continue? Surely this is Manyengwe!

BELOW IS THE PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS ROAD MAP

Minister of Justice Given Lubinda has announced a two phased roadmap for the refinement of the Republican Constitution which will commence in March 2019.

Mr. Lubinda says in phase one, the refinement process will deal with the review of the Public Order Act.

In a ministerial statement to Parliament, Mr. Lubinda has acknowledged that this review requires consensus building by all stakeholders before it is brought to Parliament for enactment.

Mr. Lubinda says in order to reach the desired consensus; there will be a Parliamentarians consultative workshop which will be facilitated by experts to be seconded by the Inter -parliamentary Union (IPU).

He notes that this workshop will be followed by a validation workshop involving representatives of institutions and individuals who made submissions towards the amendment of the Public Order Act.

Mr. Lubinda says his Ministry will thereafter finalise what this workshop will validate before Cabinet could approve any amendments to the Act and the amendment Bill of the Act is published.

He has told the House phase two of the constitution refinement process, which he says may start before phase one is concluded, will deal with the Republican Constitution itself.

Mr. Lubinda says this phase will include presentation to a workshop of Parliamentarians of the Zero draft Constitution Amendment Bill emanating from the Siavonga experts’ workshop of February 2018.

He says this will be followed by presentation of the same zero draft bill to political parties for their input after which the same draft bill will be presentation to the church mother bodies for their input.

Mr. Lubinda says these three steps will be done simultaneously after which the Ministry of Justice will consolidate the recommendations.

The Minister of Justice says this will be followed by the finalization of the recommendations by his Ministry before Cabinet can approve the proposed amendments to the Constitution.

He states that once Cabinet approves the proposed amendments, a Constitution Amendment Bill will be published before it can be taken to Parliament for enactment.

By Antonio Mwanza

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