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Cabinet moves on Referendum

PRESIDENT Lungu chairing a Cabinet meeting at State House yesterday. Picture: EDDIE MWANALEZA

CABINET has approved the introduction of a Bill in Parliament to amend Section 3 (1) of the Referendum Act of 1967 of the Laws of Zambia to bring it into conformity with Article 79 (3) of the Constitution of Zambia.
This will pave way for the holding of a referendum to adopt the new constitution next year.
Speaking at a press briefing at State House yesterday shortly after a Cabinet meeting, acting Chief Government spokesperson Vincent Mwale said the inconsistency is that the constitution requires 50 percent of persons entitled to be registered as voters in a referendum, while the Referendum Act provides for all persons registered as voters in a referendum.
Mr Mwale said Minister of Justice Ngosa Simbyakula will issue a comprehensive ministerial statement in Parliament in due course.
Mr Mwale also said Cabinet has approved the appointment of members of the Zambia Law Development Commission and that Dr Simbyakula will announce the approved names of the commission.
And Government has proposed that a referendum be held simultaneously with the 2016 general elections to reduce costs for implementing a new constitution.
Speaking during a Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) television Sunday Interview in Lusaka, chief Government spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili said implementing a new constitution through a referendum is costly.
“As Government we are suggesting that we should have both a referendum and general election on the same day to cut down on costs and divert funds to other developmental issues,” he said.
Mr Kambwili, who is also a Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, said Government is flexible and willing to listen to peoples’ cries, hence the suggestion for the second option which is amending only part of the constitution.
He said people can write to the ministries of Information and Justice and other relevant authorities to suggest further changes.
Mr Kambwili urged stakeholders to be realistic in their proposals for a new constitution.
Meanwhile, Mr Kambwili has urged the media to conform to its three norms of operation: educate, inform and entertain.
Mr Kambwili also said government will recapitalise all public media institutions to revamp their operations and reduce government dependency.
He commended the Zambia Daily Mail for its operational efficiencies.
“I will change the face of the media in Zambia including bringing to book those involved in mismanagement of funds,” he said.
Mr Kambwili also urged the media not to publish details of the President’s ailments.

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