Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Government won't introduce White Paper in constitution-making process - Zulu

Government won't introduce White Paper in constitution-making process - Zulu
By Bright Mukwasa
Tue 17 Jan. 2012, 13:56 CAT

Justice minister Sebastian Zulu has assured the nation that the government will not introduce the White Paper in the constitution-making process. And former Chief Justice Annel Silungwe says the technical committee to draft a new constitution will not collect fresh submissions.

Speaking during the Young African Leaders Initiative launch of the Zambia constitution-making process youth campaign in Lusaka last Friday, Zulu said the main tragedy that had recurred throughout past efforts in constitution making in Zambia had been the tendency by those in power to tailor the constitutions to their needs and ignore the wishes of the people.

"This has been done mainly through a process that allowed government to issue a White Paper on what the final constitution would contain thereby modifying the recommendations of the constitution review commissions," said Zulu.

"I can assure you that as long as I am justice minister that will not happen. There will be no White Paper and no government interference."

Zulu said the technical committee drafting the constitution was expected to work within a reasonable timeframe since it was expected to complete its work by June 2012, paving way for possible enactment of the Constitution of Zambia bill by Parliament within this year.

And justice Silungwe, who is the chairperson of the technical committee, said the material available from the previous review commissions were sufficient to come up with a draft Constitution.

"The terms of reference task the technical committee to use the material available in order to draft a Constitution that truly embodies the aspirations of the Zambian people. Allow me to emphasise that the technical committee is clearly not a commission of inquiry and therefore will not collect fresh submissions but will, instead, utilise the submissions already made to previous constitutions review processes to draft the national Constitution," justice Silungwe said.

Justice Silungwe said in June 2012, the technical committee would submit the final draft constitution, the Constitution of Zambia bill 2012 and the committee's report to President Michael Sata and to stakeholders and the public.

He said the constitution-making roadmap was made for the people to debate the draft constitution and not members of the committee.



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