Thursday, March 10, 2011
By Mwila Chansa
Thu 10 Mar. 2011, 04:00 CAT
THE constitutional bill currently before Parliament is a useless document that all progressive and independent-minded Zambians should condemn, according to Kitwe's Riverside ward councillor Christopher Kang'ombe.
In a statement, Kang'ombe observed that the constitutional bill had all the fundamental weaknesses of the 1996 Constitution.
He noted that the few proposed amendments to the current bill before Parliament did not include critical issues such as the 50 per cent plus one requirement for a presidential candidate and the implementation of electoral reforms among others, that if not considered may lead to political violence in Zambia.
“For over two years, over 500 Zambians sat at the NCC National Constitutional Conference, drawing huge allowances and yet they knew that the government will selectively draft the constitutional bill as presented to parliament by Vice-President George Kunda,” he stated.
“The three Church mother bodies have been vindicated for having refused to participate in a process that was destined to fail.”
Kang'ombe added that the bill had failed to address key issues on good governance and electoral reforms.
“One of the pre-requisites for good governance is real democracy that allows citizens to choose their leaders in the most transparent manner. These are the issues I expected George Kunda Vice-President to present to Parliament for debate and not the irrelevant provisions highlighted in the constitutional bill of 2011,” Kang'ombe stated.
He cited the proposed change of name of the police from police force to police service as one such untimely amendment in the constitutional bill because the proposal would not make police officers less corrupt or more motivated.
“This is also similar to the Christian nation declaration which can never make our citizens more Christian than they are just by a mere declaration,” he added.
Kang'ombe further stated that revising the composition of the National Assembly from 150 to 265 parliamentarians should not take precedence over more important amendments like the 50 per cent plus one requirement.
He wondered where additional funds to expand Parliament would come from and that Zambians would probably have to pay more taxes to meet the huge expansion costs.
Kang'ombe stated that Zambians were misled into believing that the recommendations of the NCC would form the basis for a new constitution but that what they were seeing was the contrary.
“The lack of commitment and political will by government has once again prevailed over the constitutional reforms and with this in mind; disputes arising from this year's elections must be expected,” said Kang'ombe.