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Constitution has met desires of Zambians – Prof Mvunga

MVUNGA

KAPALA CHISUNKA, Lusaka
VETERAN lawyer Patrick Mvunga says the amended constitution has retained most of the submissions Zambians made, such as one needing more than 50 percent of votes cast to be elected as President, vice-president as a running mate and Grade 12 qualifications for those seeking political office.
Professor Mvunga, who has sat on all four constitution review commissions, said the major issues people were concerned about during the submissions have been retained.
Prof Mvunga was a member of the National Constitutional Conference in 2008, a member of the Constitution Review Commission (2003-2005) and a member of the Constitutional Review Commission (1995-1996).  He was also chairperson of the Constitution Commission Inquiry (1990-1991).
“The amended constitution is pretty bulky but there are features which have come out that were all clearly subject of submissions by the people who turned up. Many people in their submissions also insisted on the 50 percent plus one threshold because they preferred a majoritarian president,” Prof Mvunga said.
He said people also insisted on the running mate clause because of the unnecessary expenditure on by-elections in the event of the office of the President falling vacant.
He said having a presidential candidate and a running mate for the position of vice-president being elected at the same time ensures legitimacy of the vice-president taking over office.
Prof Mvunga said people were also insistent on Grade 12 as a minimum qualification for candidates to stand as councillors, members of Parliament or presidents.
“The Grade 12 qualification can only pose as a challenge in terms of whether we know how many councillors and MPs have a Grade 12 certificate and are we able to say how many Grade 12 certificate holders we have in a particular district?
But I would have thought that a lot of our people have passed through Grade 12 in any district. Or the problem could be that those without certificates are the most popular in the communities,” he said.


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