‘It’s a progressive constitution’

PRESIDENT Lungu, flanked by First Lady Esther (right), addresses Parliament in Lusaka yesterday.PICTURE: MACKSON WASAMUNU.

THE Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID) has hailed President Lungu and the Patriotic Front (PF) government for coming up with a progressive constitution bill which must be supported by all well-meaning Zambians.
Executive director Horrace Chilando said for the first time in Zambia’s 50 years of independence, the constitution has responded to the people’s aspirations.
“As ZCID, we are happy with some provisions of the Constitution of Zambia [Amendment] Bill, such as political party funding, the election date, and the running mate clause,” he said.
Parliament passed clauses on majoritarian rule (50 percent-plus-one threshed for winning candidate), running mate and dual citizenship despite the United Party for National Development’s opposition.
President has said that he is ready to assent to the bill.
Mr Chilando said ZCID would have, however, loved to have the mixed proportional representation included in the constitution because it encourages inclusiveness in the decision-making process.
He said the presidential nomination of eight members of Parliament is not enough because there is need for more women in the legislative process.
“All in all, we are happy with the inclusiveness of this constitution of Zambia Bill because it has responded to most wishes of the people. While it must also be noted that not all people can be happy, this is a progressive constitution,” he said.
Mr Chilando urged Zambians to embrace the amended constitution and build on it in future because it is a progressive piece of work.
He said Government and Zambians have made a notable achievement in this constitution-making process.
“We cannot say that we kick out this constitution bill. We are a democracy that should accommodate divergent views,” he said.
Mr Chilando also said that those that were against the funding of political parties lack understanding of the accompanying benefits. “Funding of political parties makes them more accountable to the people,” he said.
He also said having the date of general elections enshrined in the constitution is equally good because other political players do not have to wait for the Head of State to make the announcement.
This, he said, will give all political parties ample time to prepare for elections.

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