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Alba Iulia
Wednesday, August 4, 2021

All MPs Must Debate the Constitution Bill and not just Vote-Miyanda

Headlines All MPs Must Debate the Constitution Bill and not just Vote-Miyanda

Heritage Party Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda
Heritage Party Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda

Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda has urged the Civil Society to insist that all the 158 MPs must debate the Constitutional Bills so we can hear them debate before voting. In a statement released to the media, Brig Gen Miyanda said that he disagreed that Members of Parliament must just pass the Constitutional Bills now before Parliament without changing anything.

Below is the full statement


[By Brig Gen Godfrey Miyanda – 7th December 2015]

I beg to disagree that Members of Parliament must just pass the Constitutional Bills now before Parliament without changing anything. Though our Civil Society have some valid concerns, I believe they are being simplistic to suggest that MPs should just pass whatever is in the Bills. It is true that once the people have spoken their wishes must “in theory” be the command to their representatives to comply with. However the making and writing of a constitution has so many implications on the lives of citizens; there are also some technical and legal aspects that need to be ironed out and harmonised afterwards by the draftsmen to avoid inconsistencies and contradictions in the current and future laws and to ensure that what becomes law is what was intended.

Thus our MPs must debate before voting; our MPs must be like a good surgeon, cutting up each clause and questioning every word that does not make sense. For instance, I would be interested to hear a debate for and against the “popular” majoritarian “50 per cent plus one”. The way it is couched in the Draft Constitution does NOT convince me that it will achieve the majoritarian president which many are alleging it will produce. Clause 47 (1) provides that “Elections to the office of President shall be conducted directly, under a majoritarian electoral system, where the winning candidate must receive more than fifty percent OF THE VALID VOTES CAST…….”. This means that the fifty percent plus one vote is NOT of eligible voters but merely of those who have voted. Let us say that there are five million eligible voters, of which only two million turn up to vote because of apathy; and let us also say that of the two million who have voted five hundred are declared invalid by the Returning Officer. The fifty per cent plus one will be NOT of five million but of 1500 votes, a paltry fraction of the 14 million Zambians! And Civil Society will accept such a winner as the majoritarian president! The only way such a system will usher in a majority president is when all eligible voters are compelled to vote, whether they like it or not. Otherwise this will remain a joke in the Constitution.

Back to debating. Speaking, talking or debating is probably the only justifiable reason that we pay Members of Parliament. Therefore I urge Civil Society to insist that all the 158 MPs must debate the Constitutional Bills so we can hear them debate before voting. Can they talk? Do they understand what they say and/or the laws that they pass or do they just open their mouths to make some sound (like aye, aye, aye) and earn their salary? Can they “parley”? If not they must not be in Parliament.



  1. IN some organizations, voting has been completely done away and adoption of resolutions is based on sound reasoning.

    • You cannot compel for sure. As expounded, the race will be run and won based on who garners and crosses the 50% ribbon of the votes cast not 50% of the population nor registered voters. Leave it simple but logical. The Civil Society is merely telling the MPs that:.You are either with the Zambians or against them. No middle roaders!

  2. @ Misango …, Does 50% + 1 apply in the second round of voting? Going by the January 2015 pattern of voting I cannot see anyone making it if the formula applies even in the second round.

    • That should premised on the basis that when there is re run, only the two top contenders will be allowed to contest the second round; there shall eventually emerge a winner.

  3. Thank you General for breaking down the famous 50% +1 vote. It will definitely need to be amended so it reflects the wishes of the people. The people wanted 50% +1 of eligible voters not of a fraction of the eligible voters. A person elected on this clause will surely not be representing majority of Zambians. The debate is needed.

  4. Useless debate. consultation was done widely in the review commissions – students, clergy, women, retirees, widows, farmers, peasants, unemployed, politicians you name them. They reached a consensus on what we wanted in the constitution. So how do politicians hijack the whole process and say they know better. Mr. Miyanda be serious that’s why only a handful of people ever vote for you.

  5. why should the general seemingly argue objectively better and present more valid points than some lawyers? this 50% is more than anything being driven by emotion and NGO selfishness. mind you even M’wasa was against perhaps for similar reasons

  6. Ok General. But you should have your numbers right; 2m minus 500 is never 1,500. Even if you meant 1,500,000 the math will still be wrong..!

    (Yet again, you can not rebase absolute figures; meaning 500 is 500 and NOT 500 thousand!)


  7. Mr Miyanda, your suggestion that ALL voters must be compelled to vote points to your very limited understanding of a democratic society. How do you compel me to vote if in my opinion none of the candidates have anything to deliver, like if you Miyanda and HH were to stand against each other, obviously there is no choice. How then can you compel me to vote? Do you force me? Are we seeing the dictator in you sir?

  8. With so much violence characterising campaigns, 50+1 would entail enduring a second round of violence if voting went to second round. In any case, a starving country like Zambia cannot afford to waste its scarce resource of time and money on an endless process of voting merely to employ lazy bones called politicians. Contrary to the pandered opinion, 50+1 does not produce a popular president. It rather produces a cartel president; at round two, parties gang up (cartel) and stir the mob against a candidate who might otherwise have emerged victorious in a simple majority system. For better use of the nation’s meagre resources, and for reasons of averting political violence, let’s drop the 50+1 mania.

  9. Democracy is expensive. Those of you who are against 50 +1 our country Zambia can not afford to waste its scarce resources are wrong. Our republican president has turned himself as a tourist, spending tax payers money. As for General Miyanda is correct . Members of parliament should debate instead of just passing tax payers money by sitting in parliament without considering the laws they are just passing. Lets go General Miyanda, you mean well. You have the knowledge and experience. People should realise that the Heritage Party is a party to vote for in 2016.

  10. What’s wrong with our current electoral system, the simple majority type, Joseph? Yes, democracy is expensive, but that does not give us a leeway to needlessly make it even more expensive. And who says Zambia is not a democracy simply because our leadership is born out of a simple vote system? As for me, I won’t be part to ransacking national resources even if Lungu is allegedly doing so – two wrongs don’t make a right.

  11. You have asked me a good question Chalo Nkhanza! Our current electoral system lack a blessing from the majority Zambians. Every time you hear petitions of vote rigging. Its so simple, I am talking from the point of view as a former employee of Electoral Commission of Zambia and now a politician. Its the difference in margins between the president elect and the immediate loosing candidate. You will find that there will be a lot rejected ballot papers that might have been in favor of the loosing candidate. In addition, you will find that there will a higher number of votes casts than the registered number of voters. To avoid such disputes, we need to have the clear winner.

  12. Meaning, the 50+1 is pure and void of any petitions? For all I know, no electoral system is free of legal challenges. Not even the US one, as democratically old as that nation is. Remember how Al Gore cried a stolen vote all the way to the US Supreme court? To me the best system is one which represents the will of the people. If the people agree to vote by the shot of the hand, so be it. But the simpler the system, the better.

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