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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Should NCC Mandate be extended?

Headlines Should NCC Mandate be extended?

Mrs Zaloumis
Mrs Zaloumis

By Richard Mulonga:

It seems to have died out now, but the debate still rages on in many circles of our society. Should the mandate of the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) be extended?

The NCC was established under the NCC Act number 19 of 2007. This Act specifies the mandate, functions, composition, powers, and the procedure on how the functions of the conference shall be executed.

The NCC Act gives the Conference a period of 12 months from the time it came into effect in which to complete its work of debating, deliberating and adopting a new constitution.

However this period does not include the period when the National Assembly is sitting. Members of the NCC may request the president to extend this period if they consider the period provided to be inadequate.

According to the NCC Act, once the final draft is completed, the draft document shall be published for a period of sixty days in both English and the local languages which include Lozi, Tonga, Bemba, Nyanja, Luvale, Lunda and Kaonde. This will be done in order to solicit for comments from the members of the public.

The NCC started its work on December 19th, 2007 after then republican President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa launched the conference.

The NCC is expected to complete its work in December this year in a bid to have Zambia’s new constitution by 2011.

The enactment of the NCC Act followed the recommendations of the people to the Mung’omba Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) that the Constitution should be adopted by a Constituent Assembly, a Constitutional Conference or any other popular body that would represent the views of the people.

There have been calls from some members of the NCC, civil society and other sections of the Zambian public to extend the lifespan of the NCC.

The contention for many who have joined the clarion call to have the NCC mandate extended is that the body should be given enough time to thoroughly complete the duty of producing Zambia’s new constitution.

Some people, who have taken an antagonistic stance on the NCC have been described as making unrealistic demands.

According to those who are in support of the extension of the NCC, the contention is that the constitution making process demands extra attention to detail and rushing it was detrimental because doing so would be simply bowing to demands of detractors.

But there have also been factions with contrary views on the life span of the NCC.

For instance, in October last year, Women for Change co-ordinator Lameck Simwanza demanded that the NCC should complete its work within six months to save on time and other resources.

As at December 2008, the NCC had spent K43.5 billion out of the K309 billion, which was budgeted.

This contrary to views by some Zambians that the NCC had spen K400 billion that was budgeted for the constitution-making process.

At the moment, there are 495 members who have been appointed by the Secretary to the Cabinet under section four of the NCC Act.
However, 40 members have boycotted the NCC citing different reasons such as those alleging that the NCC was spending colossal amounts of taxpayer’s money.

Hitherto, the NCC members who boycotted the process are free to join at any time and contribute to the adoption of the new Constitution.

The NCC has made major progress in its work. Last week, chairperson Chifumu Banda said that most of the committees on the NCC had completed their work.

From the time the NCC started its work, the committees had worked tirelessly to satisfy their duties. These committees have been traversed the constitution-making process in the midst of criticism that emerged from different directions.

But the people who have been criticizing the NCC cannot be entirely dismissed because they provided a watch-dog role, which is essential in any democratic dispensation such as the one we are experiencing.

Regarding the extension of the NCC, vice president George Kunda said making a constitution was a realistic programme, which should not be rushed.

Mr Kunda said Zambians must reflect seriously on experiences such the death of a sitting President a country would face and these experiences needed to be enshrined in the constitution.

“We need to think and reflect on the experiences we have faced as we reconsider our constitution. We are now much wiser and lets look at the constitution in such a manner,” he said.

This author would like to agree with factions that are calling for the NCC to stick to its initial timeframe to thoroughly complete its work.

The Constitution contains far-reaching guidelines and provisions touching on every aspect of activity in Zambia.

It is unrealistic for anyone to suggest untenable deadlines in the making of the constitution.

Whatever the interests that may exist inside all those making comments on the extension of the NCC, it is imperative to observe that the interest of Zambia must come first.

The NCC was allocated enough time by experts who were engaged in planning for this exercise.

It is therefore, not realistic to call for an extension or to curtail to current timeframe that was allocated.

This author is certain that the NCC would complete its mandate by December this year and that the new constitution shall be ready before the next elections.

There are financial and other logistical implications involved in the constitutions making process.

These resources have deprived other equally needy areas of this country. Therefore, it would be folly for any authority to extend the lifespan of the NCC because it would gobble more money in terms of allowances, secretariat operations and other expenses.

On the other hand, it would be recklessness of the worst order if we decide to stop the work of the NCC now because we would come up with a piecemeal or incomplete document where we would have spent colossal sums of money in futility. That would be disastrous especially that Zambia is in dire need of these resources.

If we provide a fake constitution as it has been in the past, posterity will judge us severely, in the same manner it is judging us now.

The timeframe provided to finish this constitution must be taken as an opportunity for Zambians to participate in the debate.

“It is easy to talk but we have said let us not be politicking over this matter. If we are to amend part three of the constitution, it will require us going to a referendum,” NCC spokesperson Mwangala Zaloumis said during the height of the debate.

Southern Africa Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) executive director Lee Habasonda is up beat that the NCC should wind up its work this year.

Mr Habasonda said if the new constitution was ready by next year, it would prepare the country for better elections in 2011 because constitutional lapses were a source of conflicts.

But it is gratifying to note that the NCC has not made any request to extend its mandate. Chairperson Chifumu Banda said he was optimistic that the NCC would complete its work within the stipulated time and ensure that the nationa had a new constitution by 2011.

“We have not made any request to extent the mandate of NCC and those that have said so have done it in their own capacities.

“As far as we are concerned, we shall have a new constitution by 2011 and we are staying by our timetable and shall not be swayed by such people,” he said.

The subject regarding the extension of the NCC mandate need to be handled with level headedness and in close consultation with the NCC Act which is so clear on the matter.

By the time this article is published, the 11 committees of the NCC would have completed their assignments.

This leaves no opportunity to extend the mandate of the NCC.

28 COMMENTS

  1. Well if it is to be extended the allowances must be reduced as most of the work has been covered. That should make them more efficient and expedite with process.

    • No, the laws they have adopted so far do not represent the Zambian Citizenry (population) They have not adopted the 50+1 vote , the President to have a running mate,Dual Citizenship etc the laws they are adopting so far are only in favour of Zambian politicians. It is a waste of money and resources, there are better,cheaper,effective and efficient ways of amending the consitution,let the Zambians vote on the laws during the ballot,(elections) that way the laws amended will represent the will of the common Zambia. God bless Zambia.

  2. Yes, this is the only platform for all Zambians to participate in the constitution. Just extend the NCC Mandate.

  3. I think the NCC should work extra hard to complete its work within the set period of time. The country has no resources to extend the mandate of NCC

  4. Constitution itself does not create political change but actors of political entities do so. The country has had no formidable alternative political entity since Mazoka left this world. What we have on the scene are reactionary camps led by Revisionists without purpose.

  5. It is illusionary to think that the new constitution will precipitate political structural change in 2011. My hypothesis will and has been criticized from every conceivable point of view. But these logical ideas have survived the tides of criticism and reactionary vents. Without alternative structural capacity politically, this talk of change is nothing but individualistic fallacy of ages time keeps giving us.

  6. Please do not extend the NCC mandate. Why should be shifting goal posts every time as a country? This is why we do not have a good constitution up to this time, because we seem know what we want.

  7. Please no need to extend the NCC at the moment ,you had enough time.Unless those with a hidden agenda then they will support that nosense.I will be writing a letter to petition the extention of the NCC so that parliament can look at it seriously together with courts of this land. **==

  8. Sorry readers, I ignored the NCC because it is a money swallowing venture. These commissioners understand that money should marry money and become pregnant with money and give birth to more money. They will continue sittings until they make more money.

  9. No, No. No, the NCC mandate should not be extended. Some of the lawyers sitting on the NCC have made more money from the exercise than they have ever done in their practice. I challenge my sister, Mwangala Zaloumis on this one.

  10. The are already asking for the extention of NCC mandate before we even see what they have done so far.The government has already spent billions of kwacha on this highly disputed NCC ,and these guys are dragging their feet so that they can reap more after the extention.There is no need for extending the NCC mandate,they just have to work hard and finish their assignment within the time frame.Moreover,this constitution will never stand a test of time,come another government in power ,will be taking of looking at the constitution again.Why wasting so much money then?

  11. But mulonaula ulupiya mu Zambia. And yet u are saying we are a poor nation. How many times have you been talking about the NCC. Efyabupuba sana kumo nakateka uwafilwa ukulanin’ga farm yakwe.

  12. Goodmorning everyone. The NCC should try to simplify their processes, I am neither in track of what they’re currently doing nor what they have already achieved so far.

  13. The longer the constitution making process takes,the fatter the pockets and hand bags of those characters who are sitting there.Just wasting tax payers money.Taking manzi and chewing food and others dozing not even contributing anything.Just warming the chairs at Mulungushi.Do it quickly and stop all this kind of stealing.

  14. Ya but pa Zed pali ba drama zoona. How can a president fire ministers in front of mmd cadres? And you dont just fire a minister because you are carried away by the hevy presense of cadres who dont even know anything.Is this how our beautifull country will be run? Chibombamilimo mwaume.He is so annoyed ka! pa Zed bwafya sana.

  15. Yes Dr Nanikane, you are right they want to be extending upto 2011 so that the mmd can have an advantage over the opposition.They are scared of 50+1.

  16. Sarah Jones i have begun the long journey of searching for you. I know it wont be an easy one but i will endure the difficulties that i will come across as i search for you.Until the day when i find this wonderfull blogger.

  17. The process of making a constitution which will stand a test of time is very delicate and important!!! However in our case as zambians we gave this mandate to people who look for self interest.Am not against the NCC finishing their task but am not for the idea of them taking so much time coz they want to make more money!!!!! i think the way forward is to let them finish but cut down their allowances by 50% or more!!
    GOD BLESS ZAMBIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. ““We need to think and reflect on the experiences we have faced as we reconsider our constitution. We are now much wiser and lets look at the constitution in such a manner,” he said.”
    Good stuff from the Minister of Justice Veep George kunda. In all, let us conclude and complete the NCC work as per the original time frame as NCC, its leader and the author of this article have all indicated.
    If there will be need to address other concerns, let us do that particular task in future after the 2011 elections under this NCC new Zambian Republican Constitution that has to come out.
    Someone said ‘Rome was not built in a day’ and so we will continue to use experience to patch the…

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