The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is cognizant that that the Ministry of Justice and Hon Member of Parliament for Kasempa are moving parliament to the amendments to Constitution of Zambia Bill No. 17 of 2015 which will include removal of key provisions of the Bill such as discarding Provincial Assemblies, the mixed Member proportional system, appointment of Cabinet outside Parliament and appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries. We also note that Government has the intention of introducing an amendment that will allow the President to fire the Vice President elected as his running mate based on a number of reasons such as incompetency and insubordination.
YALI has continued on the path of its engagement with Government leaders at various levels of decision making to ensure that Members of Parliament respect the wishes of the Zambian people as contained in the Constitution Bill which was tabled by Government. Having listened to government officials on some of the reasons why they will be proposing these amendments which include costs, we recommend the following:
1. Government must not proceed to introduce the clause that will enable the President to fire the elected Vice President based on the reasons given. We are confident that Government will listen to our concerns on this matter and that tomorrow they will do the right thing retaining the Running Mate as articulated in the final draft Constitution;
2. Instead of Government discarding the mixed member proportional representation system and provincial assemblies based on the argument of costs, these clauses must be retained with a proviso for deferment in its implementation. This is a normal practice in most commonwealth and foreign countries where Parliament can give a later effective date of implementation of certain laws or clauses. Government must never use the cost argument and the current economic challenges Zambia is facing as a scapegoat as these challenges are not here to stay. We must be seen to be making a Constitution that will address the needs of the people over a longer term rather than use short-term setbacks to stifle development of the law and furtherance of good governance.
3. In the last few days, we have interacted with parliamentarians from the ruling and opposition parties who we are aware are in a dice situation debating the clause on appointment of Cabinet outside Parliament because they have personal persuasions and ambitions for their own political progression. We, in this regard, appeal to their conscience and their persona to put the interests of the Zambian people first and recognize that these provisions were designed to live way beyond them. Let them listen to the voices of the people which recommended the need to have Cabinet appointed outside Parliament.
We finally appeal to the Minister of Justice that even though he was not in agreement with the final recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee, just as we were not agreeable, Government must have taken time to listen to the various recommendations submitted by stakeholders on different clauses. YALI passionately appeals to MPs in the House to look at the report by the Parliamentary Committee when debating the amendments that will be tabled tomorrow.
YOUNG AFRICAN LEADERS INITIATIVE