THE Grand Coalition on the campaign for a people-driven constitution and other stakeholders have welcomed Cabinet’s approval of the introduction of the Referendum (Amendment) Bill of 2015 to bring it in conformity with the constitution on the eligibility criterion for voting in a national referendum.
Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) and the United Front for Democracy (UFD) have also welcomed the development.
Grand Coalition chairperson Leonard Chiti said in an interview yesterday that the introduction of the Referendum (Amendment) Bill 2015 is long overdue and a step in the right direction.
He said the Grand Coalition would have loved the amendment of the Referendum Act to be done in a more systematic way.
Fr Chiti also said the Grand Coalition wants Government to provide a clear road-map, time-line and details of the contents of the Referendum (Amendment) Bill 2015
“We are looking forward to the publication of the Bill so that we see the details, but we must commend Government because it is a step in the right direction,” Fr Chiti said.
And CSPR executive director Kryticous Nshindano said on ‘Let the people talk’ programme on Radio Phoenix yesterday that this is what civil society has been advocating but that there is a lot of work yet to be done.
YALI president Andrew Ntewewe said on the same programme that the move is a progressive one which will require adequate sensitisation.
“People need to be sensitised on this development so that they can participate in the referendum and make it a success,” Mr Ntewewe said.
And UFD, an alliance of five opposition political parties, had urged members of Parliament to support the Bill when it is tabled in the House.
Speaking on behalf of the alliance, Christian Democratic Party president Dan Pule told a press briefing yesterday that UFD will support Government’s road-map in the constitution-making process.
Dr Pule urged Government to take advantage of the goodwill and support from the opposition and church to expedite the publication of the Bill.
“We appeal to parties in Parliament to demonstrate patriotism and support the bill to ensure amendments are enacted by parliament,” he said.
He said UFD has submitted its observations and recommendations to minister of Justice Ngosa Simbyakula.