Deputy minister posts should go-Annel Silungwe
CONSTITUTION Technical Committee chairperson, Annel Silungwe says deputy minister positions will be abolished if the proposal in the first draft Constitution is adopted.
The draft document has recommended the re-introduction of Parliamentary Secretaries system, which if adopted, would do away with deputy ministers in the governance of the country.
Mr Justice Silungwe was speaking on Thursday evening on a Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) special programme to discuss the draft Constitution.
Mr Justice Silungwe said the Parliamentary Secretaries system which Zambia had in the 1960s would be under the office of the Vice-President and would be responsible for government’s parliamentary business in the National Assembly.
The parliamentary secretaries would be over-seeing the implementation of government policies.
He said that the introduction of Parliamentary Secretaries would not mean doing away of permanent secretaries.
According to the recommendation, the President is supposed to appoint not more than 11 parliamentary secretaries from among the members of Parliament who are members of the party in government.
Mr Justice Silungwe pointed out that his team had come up with an all-embracing draft document and urged members of the public to take keen interest in the process.
He said the Technical Committee was on firm ground to come up with a document which would stand the test of time as evidenced by the rich content of the first draft.
He said the draft Constitution released to the public on Monday had captured most of the Zambian people’s submissions and expectations.
Mr Justice Silungwe said most contentious issues such as the 50 per cent plus one vote, dual citizenship, vice-president as running mate, proportional representation system (PRS) of electing members of Parliament (MPs) and the appointment of ministers outside Parliament had been included in the draft.
He said that his team had put in place a media outreach team that would carry out countrywide workshops to sensitise Zambians on the process.
Mr Justice Silungwe said the committee had prepared a popular version of the draft Constitution which would be much shorter and easy.
Mr Justice Silungwe noted that the Constitution would protect every Zambian including those in government positions from abuse by anybody.
He said the draft has also recommended for the establishment of a Constitutional court that would handle all human rights violations issues and presidential election petitions.
Mr Justice Silungwe said the constitutional court was working well in South Africa and the country was making great strides in the development of law and jurisprudence adding that the court had exclusive responsibility of dealing with human rights violations, Constitution-related cases and presidential election.
He said the Mvunga, Mwanakatwe, Mung’omba commissions, and the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) as well as the Zaloumis Technical Committee on the Electoral System were all useful.
Mr Justice Silungwe, however, said some of the challenges the committee had suffered included the missing of the first deadline as it had underestimated.
He said the committee had to also look at other countries’ constitutions such as South Africa, Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Mauritius.
[Times of Zambia]