Politics

CSOs Back LAZ Position on Constitutional Amendments

Six civil society organisations have backed the Law Association of Zambia’s position on the proposed amendments to the constitution.

Law Association of Zambia president Eddie Mwitwa on Tuesday charged that the proposed Amendment Bill has been structured to allow gerrymandering, a deliberate ploy by the ruling PF to manipulate the boundaries of an electoral constituency so as to gain political advantage over other parties.

And the CSOs have highlighted a number of effects which would come with the proposed amendments.

Among the effects that have been highlighted are reintroduction of deputy ministers, removing the constitutional limit on the number of constituencies, coalition government and compromising the superior courts of Zambia.

Commenting on the introduction of deputy ministers, the organisations have said in a statement issued to the media that the amendment would be costly to Zambians and that it was rejected in the last constitution reviews.

“This is a proposal that the people of Zambia rejected in the last constitution reviews process. This amendment would be costly to the Zambian people at a time when the country should be taking austerity measures given the high levels of debt in the country.it comes at a time when many Zambians are struggling to make ends meet due to the high cost of living. These resources could be better used to meet basic services as health, education, water and sanitation,” reads the statement signed by Chapter One Foundation executive director Linda Kasonde, issued on behalf of Actionaid Zambia, Alliance for Community Action (ACA), Caritas Zambia, Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD), Civil Society Constitutional Agenda (CISCA), Engwase Mwale, Lewis Mwape and Pamela Chisanga.

They further stated that the removal of constitutional limit on the number of constituencies can lead to a one party dictatorship.

It has clarified that the party in power will be able to increase the number of Members of Parliament to ensure they always have the majority in parliament and therefore make it easier for them to pass a bill.

The organizations have further stated that ability to increase the number of MPs will come at a cost to the citizens who have to pay the salaries of these MPs ‘at a time when money is hard to come by’.

On the coalition government, they have stated that the proposal undermines the will of the people, adding that it is not suitable for a country like Zambia as it currently operates under a presidential system.

“The proposed introduction of the coalition governments in the event that the party leading in general election fails to meet the current 50% threshold to form government undermines the will of the people as stated in the final draft constitution drafted by the technical committee, to have a government elected by the majority of the people in Zambia (over 50% of the electorate). It also means that a political party can form government by partnering with another political party that was largely rejected by the electorate. This means that the power of the people of Zambia to elect a government of their choice will be undermined. Additionally, as stated by Mr. Mwitwa, coalition government are only suited to a parliamentary system of government. Zambia currently operates under a presidential system of government where the electorate votes for the president direct unlike in the parliamentary system where the ruling party selects who the head of state will be. This is problematic not only because the people of Zambia have consistently opted for a presidential system of government but also because the framework of the constitution, even with the proposed amendments, does not support the coalition system of the government,” reads the statement.

The statement has further stated that unlimited number of judges will compromise the superior courts of Zambia as party in power can pack the courts with judges that are sympathetic towards the subsequently interfering and undermining the independence of the judiciary.

11 Comments

  1. Daniel Banda

    In all fairness, before the government can engage in expensive ventures like appointing Deputy Ministers, it should clear terminal benefits it owes retirees. Please have feelings for us. The PF under the late President MC Sata tried to clear the arreas so as to be current. Why has the present PF leadership become insensitive to the plight of retirees?

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  2. Youth movement

    Good observations and i hope my fellow patriot Zambians will be able evaluate and make a good decision that will benefit the nation.

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  3. Magaba

    That’s why they should have been taken part to argue their case and help come up with better constitution. But they chose to play politics and now they are crying foul .what fallaciously

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  4. Mwenya Davies

    I wonder when this gvt will clear our outstanding salary related arrears,God knows gvt does not steal.

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  5. Ngandwe Renard

    It is so sad that,we have the govt that wants to use whatever means simply to grant them cling to power.what is the point of increasing the number of MP’s if not to let every bills they bring up in parliament for debate to pass through without challenges. Look at how the economy is biting currently?. Please my fellow Zambians let’s think twice before things go out of hands.

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  6. Dog bite

    I thank. Daniel. Banda for bring the issue of retirees to the attention of government 5years not being paid terminal benefit failing to take children to colleges no food no money for medicals we are restituted in our own country give out retirees their money intact you promised money into peoples pockets then why not give what they worked for deputy ministers and more MPs it is asham in a country of. 96% poverty

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  7. Jobless

    The man who knew what more money in our pockets was going to work out is no more, not those in power today, they are foolish hypocrites who have no plans to transform people’s lives, but to enrich themselve. No wonder they have all such plans so that they can keep on stealing.

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  8. Mary taurai kayuma mwenda

    It is no to the amendments; they are I’ll timed and costly an can only benefit the party in power. I. Agree with the sentiments expressed. Prior in all totality, suçh surely is not the will of the people who wrote the constitution. Please let us not set dangerous precedents.
    Let us follow the law to the letter.

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  9. Joseph Zulu

    All people who are opposing are upnd guys one even in America there is assistance secretary’s,even South Africa even in Congo the only issue here is to amend the law allowing deputy ministers to act when the minister is not there about consitiuences some like eg munali is to big mandevu ,matero chawama ,malambo, lumedzi shiwangandu, mpongwe, nsenga hill etc, coalition is ok those who has not tested power can test it like Israel,Britain Germany Spain Italy. Let’s make suggestions on amending constitution not just noise makers those are upnd vuvuzelas, remember in mmd Edwin lifwekelo were making noise I’m behalf of mmd, it’s democracy let’s allow them to make noise.

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  10. Spade not Spoon

    You PF MPS who are not eating with the cartel, please oppose the NDF madness for the sake of your fellow indigenous Zambians and for your own sake. Ignore the dunderheads like that wusakile idiot who is an independent on paper but not in mind.

    Reply

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