Justice Minister Ngosa Simbyakula
Justice Minister Ngosa Simbyakula

MINISTER of Justice Ngosa Simbyakula has dismissed claims that President Lungu has altered the contents of the final draft constitution.

He said in an interview yesterday that these assertions by the Grand Coalition on the campaign for a people-driven constitution are misplaced.

“They are talking of a meeting at which President talked of the deletion of the clause, of which I am unaware of. The position is that nothing has been deleted from the final draft constitution, it is intact,” Dr Simbyakula said.

The Grand Coalition claims that President Lungu plans to unilaterally alter contents of the draft constitution by deleting Article 269 which relates to vesting of all land in the President.

Dr Simbyakula has said the draft constitution is intact as President Lungu has not deleted any clause from it.

Forum for Democratic Process (FODEP) executive director MacDonald Chipenzi said Zambians should avoid speculation on the contents of the final constitution.

Mr Chipenzi said in a separate interview that it is cardinal for all concerned citizens to read the contents of the revised draft constitution.

“For us, we will only believe the current talk when we see the revised draft constitution and so for now, we will treat it as mere talk,” Mr Chipenzi said.

He, however, urged Government to come up with a legal framework to protect the contents and process of constitution-making.

And Patriotic Front (PF) deputy chairperson of the media and publicity committee Sunday Chanda said President Lungu is a listening President as evidenced by the number of traditional rulers he has engaged in the four months he has been in office.

“In the context of Article 296 of the final draft constitution, the President has heard, listened and further understood the misgivings by their royal highnesses in his continued engagements with them. Article 296 has a direct bearing on their royal highnesses and not the Grand Coalition and their political sponsors,” Mr Chanda said.

He said it is clear for all to see that the Grand Coalition and its political sponsors are not being candid enough when they elect to misunderstand the spirit and context in which President Lungu spoke on the matter.

“It is, therefore, a distortion of facts for the Grand Coalition and its political sponsors to allege that President Lungu had unilaterally dropped the land clause from the final draft constitution. If we may ask, under which provision of law did the President make that unilateral decision to drop clause 296?” Mr Chanda said.

He said it is clear that the Grand Coalition seeks to play to the gallery on this matter when they know too well that the final draft constitution cannot be said to be a consensus document in its current form.

“This is also confirmed by the rejection of Article 296 by their royal highnesses from all corners of the country, giving more credence to our continued call for the focus of the constitution-making process debate to be more on the contents as opposed to the peripheral issues the Grand Coalition and their political sponsors wish to stick to,” Mr Chanda said.

He said PF does not need to remind the Grand Coalition that the constitution- making process is a consensus-building process and not an opportunity for insisting and pushing particular clauses such as the contentious Article 296 down the throats of their royal highnesses when they have rejected it.

“Their royal highnesses have spoken unequivocally and unanimously that they have rejected Article 296 and that is the position the head of state reaffirmed in listening to them. If the people have spoken as they have on a matter, who are the Grand Coalition to demand otherwise?

“The Grand Coalition promised to consult their royal highnesses regarding Article 296 and we call on them to report back on their findings and resolutions, otherwise they should not muzzle the chiefs when they speak clearly on a matter that directly concerns them,” Mr Chanda said.

He challenged the Grand Coalition to go out and reach the chiefs and persuade them to change their stance regarding Article 296 of the final draft constitution and the PF will be waiting to hear their report.
“His Excellency President Lungu remains committed to protecting the tenets of democracy and the voices of the people, in this particular instance, the voice of their royal highnesses because “vox populi vox Dei” (the voice of the people is the voice of God),” Mr Chanda said.

Grand Coalition chairperson Leonard Chiti, in a statement released yesterday, accused President Lungu of unilaterally deteting the clause.

He said the coalition is concerned that without a legal framework to guide the process, there is no guarantee that the interests of the people will be respected and protected.

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8 COMMENTS

    • The Grand Coalition represents people like me. Ngosa Simbyakula is a clueless lawyer and his attempt to dribble Zambians with piecemeal amendments to the constitution will not succeed. Ngosa and his minions must understand that they are tasked to work on a Zambian constitution and not a PF constitution.

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  1. I doubt if Father Chiti has a parish. Is he on sabbatical leave as well. He is more of a politician than a priest. Father Chiti, try to find out, by conducting a survey, from one of the catholic parishes to see if the parishioners like your stance on the constitution. If you are doing it for the benefit of your pay masters, then you are lost. May God forgive you. You are misleading a lot of Christians with your wild allegations. Show the Zambians that new proposed constitution with the deleted article 296. Do not just blab.

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  2. In this one article, already, there are conflicting positions of PF: Minister says intact; Chanda says deleted because the Chiefs said so! So what do we believe?

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  3. People, why not comment on this clear explanation of Mr chanda or you want to comment on only the negative issues people talk about the govt and its leaders. I believe in the truth and fare analysis of the situations. Majority talking about the failure of the PF govt seem not to have gone in far flank areas of Zambia who never saw any developmental projects in 50yrs. Go there ask them their views on PF. You will be shocked. Others complain just not having breakfast but in other areas people lived on one meal per day. When you are in town,you will not see those people in rural areas. The Link Zambia has given these rural guys a little income and most of them have changed their lifestyle.E.g they tu ma solar panels,TVs and some areas even GOTV decoders.

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  4. There are a few notes that need to be tied up on the understanding of close 296. It was not a mistake that the close was phrased the way it is. The issues were coming from the common person of Zambia after extensive consultations. What has been happening is that the so called Royal Highnesses have abused their powers on the lands that fell within their jurisdictions. the way they shared land among their subjects. There was no securit to the subjects as a result they were not able to invest. Royal Highnesses had powers to chase them. As a result no meaningful invetment these people doon these pieces of lands, this affected agricultural productivity. The close (296) is meant to protect the common person. If Royal highnesses agree to give Titles to their subjects, fine, if not, close 296 rema

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  5. ?Rasco,
    You are truly a better commentator than these upnd armless chair critics. What a good summary of the chiefs understanding or is it misunderstanding of close 296 ? We appreciate your explanation.

    God bless you.

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  6. In the same vein, the Watchdog posts an article that ECL is going to grab white-owned land. Reminds me of Tsvangirai crusading for sanctions on his country. The desperation of some characters for power is such that they are ready to kill their own and cry murder just to want to lead the same people that they are killing.

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