Minister of Justice Given Lubinda has tabled the Bill before the House after approval by Cabinet.
“The bill aims at ensuring that all governance legislative reforms are backed by a legal framework to ensure the process is legally binding. Some of the pieces of legislation to be handled in the bill include the Public [Order] Act, The electoral process Act and the Refinement of the Constitution of Zambia. From the onset we would like to commend government for being bold enough and ensuring the legislative and institutional reforms are done expeditiously and that process be protected by a legal framework,” Ntewewe said in Lusaka today. “We at the Young African Leaders Initiative are cognizant of the fact that this process is long overdue. The procrastination of the dialogue process under the auspices of the church failed because some individuals wanted usurp the agenda which already agreed upon by all political parties at the Siavonga meeting.”
He accused some political players of having wanted to use the church-led process as “a shadow boxing arena to just score political points”.
“This bill will ensure that the agenda set up and agreed upon all political parties in the Siavonga meeting is protected and adhered to. We therefore would like to call on citizens and all stakeholders to participate fully in the National Dialogue process under the auspices of this legal framework that was tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Justice…By and large, when all is said and done, the Edgar Chagwa Lungu Administration has demonstrated political will to ensure that the governance reforms agenda becomes a reality and not just a dream. It is against this background that the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) commends government on the milestone to table the National Dialogue Bill in Parliament,” Ntewewe said.
“We have been made aware that there is systematic effort by disgruntled elements who would like to derail this well thought out process. We once again want to reiterate our long held view that there is only one legally and legitimate body with the responsibility to make and amend laws. The Constitution is article 62 (3) is very instructive that Parliament has the sole mandate to amend and make laws. We therefore, once again challenge government not abdicate its responsibility to facilitate this governance reforms agenda. We challenge government not to be swayed by detractors but instead keep the eyes on the ball. As we have stated before the failure of the reform process will squarely fall on the shoulders of the government.”
He said any plans to frustrate the process must be condemned by all Zambians.
“Once again, we call on the Zambian people to read through this evil agenda to frustrate a very progressive governance reform agenda. The Zambian people must ask themselves why the people who have been complaining about the shrinking political space can wake up to derail a legal process meant to widen and facilitate the enjoyment of the political rights of our people,” said Ntewewe.
“People have sung time and again about the Public Order Act. It will be folly to begin frustrating the process meant to address the bottlenecks in this piece of legislation…we once again make a clarion call to government…to ensure that the bill is passed into law and that the National Dialogue Forum guided by the law is held expeditiously.”