Friday, December 16, 2011

FODEP urges appointing of referendum commission

FODEP urges appointing of referendum commission
By Agness Changala
Fri 16 Dec. 2011, 13:58 CAT

FODEP has appealed to President Michael Sata to appoint a referendum commission as outlined in the action plan for the technical committee on drafting of the Zambian Constitution.

In a statement yesterday, FODEP stated that this would give the referendum commission time to facilitate the printing of materials, update the voters' register and other things for the purpose of preparations and holding of the national referendum.

It stated that the early establishment of the referendum commission would enable the commission so appointed to start consultations with the Central Statistical Office (CSO) on the 2010 national census results and make the necessary logistics for the smooth holding of the referendum.

FODEP stated that the civil society and other stakeholders would be given ample time to mobilise resources and prepare people's minds to participate in the referendum.

"We wish to state that civic education on the constitutional making process is not only critical, but creates ownership of the process, which is key in delivering a people driven document," the statement read in part.

FODEP proposed that the new constitution should guarantee and protect the tenure of the office of Inspector General of Police.

It stated that this should be done in an effort to retain some level of independence and public confidence in the work of the Zambia Police Service.

FOPDEP stated that the obtaining scenario where the appointment of the Inspector General of the Police was made by the President made them susceptible to public suspicion and mistrust on neutrality and professionalism, especially when some police investigations are prompted by direct orders from the executive.

It stated that the general feeling was that the Inspector General of Police was at the mercy of the appointing authority as demonstrated in the past few years where those appointed to that office had been hired and fired by presidents at will.

FODEP stated that this might compromise their independence in an effort to keep their positions.

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