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PF hailed for passing people’s constitution

NOMSA NKANA & MUNIDE NYIRENDA, Lusaka
THE Patriotic Front has won praises from a cross-section of society for passing the constitutional clauses, that seek to entrench democracy and meet the aspirations of the people.
Zambians have been yearning for a people-driven constitution, which would have clauses on majoritarian rule (50 percent plus one), running mate and dual citizenship.
The clauses in the Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill 2015 were duly passed on Friday despite vehement opposition from United Party for National Development members of Parliament (MPs).
Opposition political party leaders and civil society organisations praised the PF for meeting people’s desires on a document that has been contentious since 1964.
People’s Party president and former minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Mike Mulongoti said the decision was people’s desire.
Mr Mulongoti said Zambians want a ‘majority president’, adding that the development is intended to benefit all Zambians.
On dual citizenship, Mr Mulongoti said he was happy because the move would allow Zambians in the Diaspora to effectively participate in national development.
“This move is not for an individual or one political party. It is for the benefit of all Zambians and everybody needs to support it. It should not be about what one can get out of it but for the good of all Zambians,” he said.
Forum for Democratic Alternatives leader and veteran politician Ludwig Sondashi described the passing of the non-contentious clauses as “a step in the right direction with regards to delivering a people’s constitution”.
Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) spokesperson Antonio Mwanza refused to comment, saying it is his party’s policy not to give interviews to the public media over the phone, while UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa said he could not comment as he was driving to Choma for a funeral.
Foundation for Democratic Process executive director MacDonald Chipenzi said the passing of the clauses is in line with aspirations of the people.
Mr Chipenzi said it is a clear testimony of the PF government’s resolve to give the nation a people-driven Constitution.
“Members of Parliament should be commended for ensuring that wishes of the people are met through supporting non-contentious clauses in the Constitution,” he said.
He appealed to Government to set a clear agenda on the clauses passed by Parliament to avoid speculations.
He, however, wished the mixed-member proportional representation and appointment of MPs from outside Parliament was passed to enhance women representation.
Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia executive director Pukuta Mwanza said passing the 50 percent plus one presidential winning threshold, running mate and dual citizenship clause is indicative of the country’s journey to building a progressive Constitution.
He said the policy-makers have exhibited patriotism and commitment to issues that are pertinent for Zambians.
Rev Mwanza said the dual citizenship clause will enhance levels of investment because Zambians in the Diaspora will be able to invest in the country using ‘privileges’ they have overseas.
Bible Gospel Church in Africa  overseer Peter Ndhlovu commended the MPs for passing the three non-contentious clauses.
Bishop Ndhlovu said passing the three clauses was the “cry of the people”.
He also commended President Lungu and the PF government for fulfilling their promise to Zambians.
The Constitution of Zambia Bill has now been passed to President Lungu for possible assent.

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