TEDDY KUYELA, Parliament
GOVERNMENT yesterday released the final draft Constitution to the public as a Jubilee gift to Zambians, who today celebrate 50 years of independence.
Acting Minister of Justice Ngosa Simbyakula, who released the final draft Constitution in Parliament, said this is a clear demonstration of the Patriotic Front (PF) governmentâ€™s commitment to giving Zambians a people-driven constitution.
Dr Simbyakula said the release of the final draft Constitution is also a clear testimony that President Sata and his administration have not U-turned on the constitution-making process and remain committed to giving the Zambian people a Constitution that will stand the taste of time.
â€œAs we celebrate 50 years of our countryâ€™s independence, we have to take a bold step to shape the destiny of our country. We have decided to release the final draft Constitution to the public as a Jubilee gift to Zambians.
â€œToday marks another milestone in the history of this country because we have started fulfilling the promises we made about giving the people of Zambia a new constitution that will stand a taste of time,â€ he said.
Dr Simbyakula said the PF government is workingâ€™ round the clockâ€™ to ensure that a new and people-driven Constitution is enacted within the shortest possible time.
He said the Ministry of Justice will in the next few days issue a statement on how copies of the final draft Constitution will be distributed to all the parts of the country to enable Zambians make inputs.
Dr Simbyakula said the constitution-making process will be people-driven and therefore the road map will be a product of the consultative process.
He said this in response to a follow-up question from Mafinga member of Parliament (MP) Catherine Namugala (MMD) who wanted the Government to give a time frame as well as the road map for the constitution making process.
Dr Simbyakula said Government wants Zambians to study the document and make further recommendations on how they want the constitution-making process to proceed so that it becomes a people-driven constitution.
When asked by Mazabuka MP Garry Nkombo (UPND) if Government will consider coming up with a legal framework to protect the constitution-making process, Dr Simbyakula said government will not decide on the matter but will allow the Zambian people to decide the way forward so that the final product becomes a people-driven constitution.
He urged Zambians to make their final comments to the final draft Constitution and submit them to the Ministry of Justice for further consideration.
Dr Simbyakula, however, could not state if the 2016 general elections will be held under a new constitution.
He said holding the 2016 polls under the new constitution will depend on the Zambian people who will determine the destiny of the country through the constitution-making process.
Dr Simbyakula said this following a follow-up question from Chadiza MP Allan Mbewe (MMD) who wanted to know if the 2016 general elections will be held under a new constitution.
He, however, expressed happiness that the final draft Constitution contains all the contentious issues that the Zambian people had earlier submitted in first and second daft constitutions.
Dr Simbyakula has further urged Zambians not to politicise the release of the final draft Constitution or to entertain any perception that the process is being driven by the PF government because this could derail it.
TEDDY KUYELA, Parliament