ZAMBIA should come up with a Republican Constitution which will have strong public support to enable it last a test of time, United States of America (USA) ambassador to Zambia Mark Storella has advised.
Mr Storella said although he did not want to have a clear position on whether or not there should be a referendum for the constitution, it is very important that the final constitution had very strong public support.
He was speaking during a press conference in Livingstone on Monday shortly after former USA President George W Bush and his wife left Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport for the African First Ladies Conference in Tanzania.
“I don’t have a clear position on the question of whether or not there should be a referendum on the constitution but let me say that Zambia should follow Zambian law.
“It is very important to have very strong public support when launching an important document like a constitution,” he said.
Mr Storella said Republican constitutions were written for future generations hence their drafting should take a long term view.
“My main pieces of advice are that Zambia is not USA and therefore you have your own country and your own history.
“Your constitution should grow out of your own historical experience although you can learn from mistakes of the past,” he said.
Mr Storella said his forefathers in America met about 224 years ago in Philadelphia to write a new constitution after learning from mistakes of the past.
He said he met the Technical Committee on drafting the Zambian constitution and observed that the Committee had been extremely serious with the exercise.
“The Committee has done a lot of work to build on what the predecessors did and did not want to reinvent the will.
“The process of consultation in all provinces and districts has been active and important to create public support,” he said.
The Technical Committee on Drafting the Zambian Constitution is soon expected to submit a final document to Government.
Mr Storella also said USA President Barrack Obama was placing a lot of value on Africa as witnessed in his recent visit to three African countries namely Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.
He said Mr Obama recently met a number of African justices including Zambia’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda in Senegal during his visit to the continent.