The Grand Coalition on the Campaign for a People Driven Constitution has maintained what was passed in Parliament two weeks ago is not a people-driven constitution inasmuch as it contains some progressive clauses that the Grand Coalition has been campaigning for.
In a statement released to the media and signed by Chairperson Father Leonard Chiti, the Grand Coalition the constitution cannot be people-driven without the comprehensive Bill of Rights that contains economic, social and cultural rights.
Below is the full statement
Lusaka, 27 th December 2015
The Grand Coalition on the Campaign for a People Driven Constitution maintains its position that
what was passed in Parliament two weeks ago is not a people-driven constitution in as much as it
contains some progressive clauses that the Grand Coalition has been campaigning for. It cannot be
people-driven without the comprehensive Bill of Rights that contains economic, social and cultural
The Grand Coalition therefore undertakes to campaign for the adoption and enactment of the Bill of
Rights, as a natural move in the demand for a new people-driven constitution. As it stands, it is not
clear what the government is planning to do with the Bill of Rights which the people had included
in the final draft constitution.
The people made it clear that they wanted a new constitution, with a comprehensive Bill of Rights
and that the new constitution must be adopted through a national referendum. It is time that we
begin to see progress in this direction. The people know what they were promised and they are wise
enough to see that the amendments that were passed in Parliament leave out a number of key
provisions that would have given the people power they rightly deserve in the governance of the
To this effect, the Grand Coalition will relaunch the campaign to specifically focus on the demand
for the adoption of the Bill of Rights through a referendum, and its enactment in Parliament. The
Grand Coalition will announce a new team comprising three key member organisations of the
coalition whose work is directly linked to the Bill of Rights to champion and lead this phase of the
campaign. This structure will be called the Troika on the Bill of Rights and will champion the
campaign. The Grand Coalition will unveil this structure in January 2016 during the official launch
of the campaign for the adoption and enactment of the Bill of Rights.
The Grand Coalition has been vindicated by the apparent lack of consensus within government and
the ruling party, which has caused President Edgar Chagwa Lungu to delay assenting to the
Constitutional Bill (2015), after promising the nation that he would assent to the Bill as soon as it
was presented to him by Parliament.
It was also amazing to see how President Lungu would not assent to the Bill just because of one
person’s petition when many citizens, including the Grand Coalition, opposition political parties,
churches, trade unions and the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs had expressed their
misgivings earlier which he ignored.
We challenge the President that if he truly values the views of other stakeholders in this process, he
should consider the submissions by the people at district, provincial, sector groups and national
level since the citizens of this country are the most important stakeholders in the constitution
making process. They made their position very clear through submissions that were put together to
produce the final draft constitution. No stakeholder is bigger or more important than the people
who made their submissions in a very systematic way in a process facilitated by this very
New Constitution, Better Lives for All. We further challenge the President as he promises to publicly assent to the Amendment Constitutional Bill at the Heroes Stadium on a date unknown to itemise the contents of the comprehensive Bill of Rights and clearly state the plans towards adoption and enactment.
We hope that he will also explain to the women, youths and persons with disability the implications
of the left out mixed members proportional representation on their opportunity to play a role in the
governance of the country, as well as the implications of the throwing out of the devolution of
power to the provinces.
In conclusion, we emphasise that one cannot speak of a people driven constitution when the Bill of
Rights is not a part of it. It is the Bill of Rights that addresses the welfare of the ordinary citizens,
and without it, the welfare of ordinary people remains left out.
Issued by: Father Leonard Chiti
Chairperson – Grand Coalition on the Campaign for a People-Driven Constitution