The PF/UPND Pact is not in support of the likely extension of the sitting of the National Constitution Conference (NCC) which is supposed to conclude its sitting on Friday next week. UPND Spokesperson Charles Kakoma said the pact was worried about the delay in concluding the deliberations of the NCC.
Mr. Kakoma was reacting to NCC Chairperson Chifumu Banda who said that the conference was likely to be extended for another sitting if delegates failed to complete the work of the remaining two committees by Friday next week.
“We are worried because the deliberations are dragging on at a very slow pace meaning that we are unlikely to have a new constitution before the next general elections,” Mr. Kakoma aid.
He said according to the NCC timeframe, the new republican constitution was supposed to be ready last year. Mr. Kakoma said it appeared to be impossible to have a new constitution this year because of the referendum which needed to be held on unresolved articles or issues.
The UPND spokesperson revealed that there was no money in this year’s budget for the holding of the referendum, complicating further the likelihood of having a new constitution before 2011 general elections.
“Our pact does not welcome the likely extension of the NCC sittings because the document would have been concluded within the one-year time frame the NCC was given to conclude its business,” Mr. Kakoma said.
The NCC sitting has already been extended once and this would be the second extension since it started sitting more than one year ago.
But Mr. Banda said the conference will go on recess on Friday next week to pave way for the resumption of Parliament sittings on February 23. He said this meant that if the conference failed to complete its work by Friday, it would have to wait for Parliament to adjourn. This however will only happen if delegates fail to conclude the work of the two remaining committees by Friday next week.