The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is relieved that the Constitution Amendment Bills No. 16 and 17 have been tabled before Parliament and we now wish to call on Members of Parliament to rise above partisan politics and enact the Bills into law.
We are gratified to have been invited by the Clerk of National Assembly to present our written submissions by Friday, 30 October and to appear in person before the Committee on Legal Affairs on Tuesday November 3, 2015 and make our oral submissions on the Bills.
The Board of YALI has unanimously resolved to support this process that is aimed at giving Zambians a better supreme law and we urge President Lungu and all our MPS to give Zambians a good and progressive Constitution before 31st December 2015.
YALI would like to remind our Members of Parliament that the duty to make, repeal and enact laws is vested exclusively in the House through Articles 62 and 78 of the Constitution of Zambia which is the supreme law that must be obeyed by all. We therefore call on those Members of Parliament who may not want to discharge their mandate as the people’s representatives, to resign from the House and make room for those who understand Parliament’s duty to the people who constitute the electorate.
All members of Parliament represent the people, most of whom may not have sufficient knowledge on the content or implications of the current Draft Constitution and, at a time like this, we want to remind all MPs to remember the very reason why the people elected them to Parliament.
We particularly remind President Lungu that while his party may be enjoying an a clear majority in Parliament, this advantage must never be used to subvert the will of the people contained in the Constitution Bills which Government has presented to Parliament.
President Lungu has an opportunity to show Zambians that he means well on the Constitution by urging his Party’s Members of Parliament to enact all progressive clauses as contained in the Bill irrespective of whether the Patriotic Front which he leads, agrees with them or not.
Zambia’s Members of Parliament must never fail the nation once again, as they so shamefully did in March 2011, when they failed to give Zambians a constitution that was more progressive than the current 1996 Constitution.