Former freedom fighter and MMD founder member Simon Zukas says the parentage clause in the current Republican Constitution is discriminatory and should not have been introduced in the first place.
The just-released draft Republican Constitution excludes the clause that forbids Zambians with foreign parentage from standing in a presidential election.
The current constitution says for one to be a presidential candidate, both their parents must be first generation Zambians.
The parentage clause, introduced in 1996 during the reign of president Fredrick Chiluba was widely believed to have been targeted at former president Kenneth Kaunda, whose parents hailed from Malawi.
Mr Zukas, who was commenting on the removal of the parentage clause from the draft constitution, said there are Zambians born to foreign parents who have been discriminated on the basis of their parentage, even when they had never been to their parents’ countries of origin.
Welcoming the removal of the clause from the draft constitution, Mr Zukas said there was no justification for the qualification.
“The removal is welcome. The clause should not have been there in the first place. It was a bad clause,” Mr Zukas said.
He said the clause only managed to create two classes of Zambia, one superior and the other lesser.
Mr Zukas said all the country needs is a president who can do the job.
He said the clause discriminated against many people, including Zambians whose parents married from outside the country, despite them having international exposure which would have benefited the country.
And former Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Dipak Patel said the removal of the parentage clause is progressive.
“It’s a good thing and I hope it is approved in the final draft constitution because a lot of Zambians are affected by it,” Mr Patel said.
Meanwhile Heritage Party president Godfrey Miyanda has advised Zambians to thoroughly study the draft constitution and not be excited over the adoption of the 50 percent plus one vote threshold for a winning Presidential candidate, among other contentious clauses.
General Miyanda says he believes the contentious clauses were adopted by the technical committee drafting the constitution “to sway public attention from other pertinent clauses”.
He said this in Lusaka yesterday when he featured on a Hot FM programme, Hot Seat.
“I would like to advise fellow Zambians to study this document from the first to the last page before making any conclusions,” he said.
Gen Miyanda said government should not rush the constitution-making process as all the tenets of democracy are enshrined in the current constitution.