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No need for further amendments, says PF legal counsel

TUTWA NGULUBE

KELVIN CHONGO, Lusaka
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) legal counsel Tutwa Ngulube says it would be retrogressive for the next sitting of Parliament to amend the Constitution of Zambia.
Mr Ngulube said further amendments are unnecessary because the constitution has received overwhelming approval from many Zambians of various backgrounds.
“The constitution can be amended at any time but it will be retrogressive to remove the 50-percent-plus-one and the grade 12 requirement for one to become a councillor,” he said.
Mr Ngulube, who was speaking in an interview yesterday, said as far as the majority Zambians and the PF are concerned, the just-amended constitution is a progressive one.
The PF legal counsel said the 50-percent-plus-one electoral system has worked well in some West African countries like Benin and Guinea Bissau.
He said the apprehension by some sections of society that the new mode of electing the President may lead to confusion in the event of a re-run is normal.
“There cannot be confusion in the country because we have security in place to check troublemakers, and this may not even arise because a winner will emerge during the first round,” Mr Ngulube said.
He said the majoritarian system of electing a President creates legitimacy in the leadership but it is unfortunate that people feel confusion could reign during a re-run.
“Imagine, if we have 20 presidential candidates and the winner gets 10 percent of the votes, that President is not legitimately elected,” Mr Ngulube said.
He further said the PF is going to win the August 11 elections with a landslide and there will be no need for a re-run.
Mr Ngulube said, however, that the only constitutional matter that needs attention is that of deputy ministers.
“This constitution does not provide for deputy ministers. This is the clause that can be put back into the constitution by the next sitting of Parliament,” he said.
And Mr Ngulube said there is no need to amend the grade 12 requirement for one to be elected councillor because Zambia has enough secondary schools in all parts of the country.
Meanwhile, the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has called on Government to carry out countrywide education campaigns to explain new clauses in the constitution.
Secretary general Cosmas Mukuka said Government should interpret the amendments to the constitution so that people  can understand and appreciate them.
In a statement yesterday, Mr Mukuka said it would be wrong to assume that everyone understands the amendments to the constitution.
“This is in view of the fact that the country has illiterate people who will not be able to understand the legal language used in the document,” he said.
He said the constitution is the supreme law of the land and it is important that its contents are fully understood by all Zambians to enable them participate effectively in the governance system.

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