CAROLINE KALOMBE, Lusaka
VARIOUS political parties have welcomed the development of the Political Parties Bill, saying this is the direction to take in efforts to strengthen democracy and promote good governance.
This reaction manifested at a forum attended by 22 registered political parties in Lusaka last week.
The Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue (ZCID) says others who attended the forum were observers from the Ministry of Justice, United Nations Development Programme, Department for International Development, German Society for International Development and National Democratic Institute.
In a communique released yesterday, the ZCID says the political parties recommended that Article 60 of the Constitution be amended in line with the proposed changes made to the Political Parties Bill.
It was also recommended that the Political Parties Board comprises representation from the political parties themselves as reflected in the structure and model of the ZCID board.
The political parties also agreed that membership to the Political Parties Board should be by nomination by political parties and not by the President.
They also said the functions of the registrar of political parties should be aligned to and harmonised with the functions of the board and that the Political Parties Fund should cover all parties which participate in national elections.
Political parties said their submissions should be included in the final bill which will be presented to Parliament and that further consultations are welcome.
However, National Congress Party president Peter Chanda said the President should be left to appoint board members because he represents the entire nation as opposed to political parties which do not have that mandate.
He also recommended the inclusion of all church mother bodies including the Independent Churches in Zambia to represent churches which are not under any of the three mother church bodies.
Mr Chanda also said labour unions should be included to ensure that all people are represented, adding that the Political Parties Board will be a tool for enhancing good governance.
On August 8 this year, Government started engaging stakeholders in the development of the Political Parties Bill 2017.
In light of this, ZCID organised a three-day national consultative forum for political parties to review the draft bill.