Saturday, June 22, 2024

The Mung’omba Constitution was far better than the Amended Constitution-Sangwa


John Sangwa speaking during the public debate on Freedom of Expression
John Sangwa speaking during the public debate on Freedom of Expression

Renowned Constitutional Lawyer John Sangwa has charged that the Mung’omba Constitution Review Commission is far much better than the current amended constitution, reports Pan African Radio Journalist Hermit Hachilonde.

Speaking during the Press Freedom Committee of the post held at Southern Sun Hotel in Lusaka, Mr Sangwa said the Technical committee was just amending some clauses without thoroughly examining and analyzing them.

He said the Technical Committee started amending some clauses that were flawless because they were not dedicated, adding that their review was not even effective.

Sangwa further notes that the the constitution is not only about the 50 percent + 1 vote threshold clause which he says seems to have cheered some sections of society adding that the clause is just a fraction of the entire document.

“When you keep on talking about the same things over and over and you even start amending things that were okay, if you look at the draft of Mung’omba Commission,  it is far much better than what came out subsequently. I know a lot of people are excited about 50+1, but the constitution is not just about the 50+1”,  John Sangwa said

Mr Sangwa also observed that the document which president Lungu recently assented to is largely deceptive and is fraught with numerous lacunas.

He cited the preamble which he said is at variance with the way  the document was adopted. According to the preamble of the amended law of the land, the Zambian people solemnly adopted and give to themselves the constitution, which the legal mind says is a lie because there was no referendum in Zambia.

Mr Sangwa further said that the preamble was enshrined in the country’s supreme law in anticipation that the document was to be subjected to a referendum, hence the stakeholders who were responsible at that stage left it without identifying that problem because they were too much in hurry and not serious at all.

“This document contains lies, there are some things that are actually not true, the first thing that is more obvious is that you just look at the preamble, the most important thing is at the bottom where the preamble says we the people of Zambia solemnly adopts and give to ourselves this constitution, now the question is that, is there any truth in that?  When did the Zambian people give themselves a constitution? John Sangwa said
He also identified a lacuna in article number 7 which he feels was detrimental to the country’s judicial system which was instrumental in upholding Justice for more than a century now.

Mr  Sangwa also observed  that Zambia is still using the old framework of the defective 1991 constitution, adding the recently amended document will enable politicians to have leverage to continue the usual political rhetoric of enacting a new constitution once voted into office.

“The amended constitution has given fertile grounds to the next president to continue promising the Zambian people about the new constitution” John Sangwa said


  1. Where were these “experts” when comments were being solicited on the draft before it became law? Zambians never cease to amaze. When input is requested from people, they stand aloof while others do the work only to come and condemn it.


    • This same expert in Constitutional Law fought a legally sitting Chief Justice and when an illegal one was appointed to act for 3 years he was mute. Mute by malice. Was that the price he had to pay to become State Counsel? Just asking!

    • Submissions were about content and not process. He is concerned about process that is misrepresented in the document.

    • You are part of the problem Zambia is facing today. You see no sense and just opposition. Nowadays we need grade 12 to be a councillor they are just to many dull people in this country.

  2. Where was Sangwa when submissions were being made? Zambians amaze me. The other day I heard one politician criticizing the minimum requirement of Grade 12 certificate for candidates. Where were all these people when submissions were being made?

  3. Constitutional lawyer.. MY FOOT!!!! We need to be serious for once. This is the problem when you sell your soul to the opposition to oppose everything done by the current government. PF may have their problems but on this one, i commend them for their bold stance to get that documented signed. Mr Sangwa should be above this foolishness.

  4. Why can`t we be patient for once. a)Didn’t`t the President say that there are some issues in the consitution which have to go the REFERENDUM? b). Didn`t the President say that the REFERENDUM will take place at the same time of the General Election?
    I doubt whether we are being sincere and reasonable with this kind of criticism.

    • But the process that is implied by the language in the preamble is already done. For instance, if the “We the people…” implied the endorsement of the content of the constitution through a referendum, then that statement is invalid because the referendum has not taken place yet. That to me seems to be Sangwa’s concern.

  5. Thats his oppinion. What the people of Zambia want and what his oppinion is, are two different things. Yes it might have been better but if Zambians don’t want it, then there is no point even talking about it.

  6. ‘Renowned’ Constitutional Lawyer John Sangwa, now unrenowned.

    What is it with Zambians. All these ridiculous people in cheap suits taking to the airwaves, print media, to make pronouncements on matters ordinary citizens have no care for. Is it just to etch their self importance into our minds? What rally is the point of this rumbling? One defunct one is better than the live and enacted one? Where were you when you were invited to debate it in parliament. Did we not see the obstructions gov’t faced along the way? Will you play with our minds?

  7. Why can`t we be patient for once. a)Didn’t`t the President say that there are some issues in the constitution which have to go the REFERENDUM? b). Didn`t the President say that the REFERENDUM will take place at the same time of the General Election?
    I doubt whether we are being sincere and reasonable with this kind of criticism.

  8. The learned ones have spoken, you guys ( lawyers), you are a disappointment in Zambia. When things were done you were busy representing thieves that have torn apart our Nation in the courts of law. After stealing from those thieves then you go and stand on that anthill in southern sun hotel and start cheating the Zambian people that the mung’omba draft was good, where were you sangwa?? A piece of bread is better than nothing, at least who is going to be President in future will not talk and cheat about the 50+1 threshold in our constitution, so please Sangwa give us a break and get a life!

  9. In not a lawyer, but sangwa’ argument that the people of Zambia did not give themselves a constitution because of the statement in the preamble that says ” we the people of Zambia solemnly adopts and give ourselves a constitution ” is laughable, this because in my opinion the parliamentarians who adopted the constitution are people’s representative. So whether the constitution was adopted through parliament or referendum does not take away the fact that the Zambian people have given themselves a constitution.

  10. Zambians will only learn when they are in the grave………..I thought RB was better than what is going on now! By the end of this year we shall all have died…….Kunsala. International oil prices are 10 times down but our fuel prices are still at all time high……Why???? Now the cadres can start their insults!!!!!!!

  11. He just had to sound intelligent as usual! Where the hell were you? And why would a renowned constitutional lawyer continue harping ’50 + 1′ instead of ‘50% + 1’?


  12. Mr Sangwa actually was a member of the same Technical committee and is part of the collective responsibility of what has been amended. Lawyers should not think that the Zambian constitution is their document only but it is collectively owned by all Zambians regardless of status. At least the amended constitution is better than the last one…

  13. Abraham Lincoln once said it is better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. Mr Renowned Constitutional Lawyer, “Silence is a true friend who never betrays”

  14. It would have been better for the learned Gentleman to give a blow by blow critique of the shortcomings of the amended constitution in comparison to the Mungomba constitution rather than waxing lyrical on it’s perceived inferiority and limiting commentry to 50+1 and the preamble. Agreed there is more to the constitution than50+1 but you have failed to clearly articulate other aspects where the amended constitution fails in comparision to Mungomba’s now Academic Exercise.

  15. As PF cadres continue raining insults on John Sangwa SC, the question is:

    Is the amended constitution same as submitted by Zambians?

    Unless your profession is deception, Goebels style, you can only say the Technical Review draft was bustardised by those in authority. This document is a usurpation of the will of the people.

    Simple because a fraud has been successful does not make it right …. Chiluba did it and Lingu too has “did” it.

    • What’s done is done. No use carping on about nothing. Okay so the question really us……..what in the alternative is he suggesting here. We throw the amended constitution out and then begin to pull the Nits out of our hear, splitting hairs as we go on the road to nowhere? Fellow citizens he calls out, lend me your ears. So we do……what are we to do now?? Pointless.

  16. Was the so called Mung’omba Constitution enacted? NOT AT ALL! Therefore, this so called ‘renowned constitutional lawyer’ is gravely misleading people as the two documents are not the same! Any legitimate comparison must be between enacted documents and not with a wish list!!! Please give Zambia a break!

  17. Can someone rewrite this lawyerise in plain and simple English. I am referring ofcourse to the discussion that there are lies in the constitution only to be thrown into a bunch of words that quite frankly are hard for me to understand.

    I’m just being honest.

  18. I have been waiting for constitutional lawyers to give guidance but not like this.

    Another expert, one Cornell university prof of zambian origin who Kabimba invited to be on technical expert team bluntly refused. But this prof pfc media discussion at sun holiday hotel instead urged everyone to boycott the draft constitution.

    Really, our learned counsels?

    The status quo of legal development in zambia reflects the kind of us or the citizenry education we have given unto ourselves.

    Oh Mr Sangwa sc sir,” we the people”, compare the US of A constitution which was written by 55 “nobel” framers!

  19. “Renowned constitutional lawyer” my foot! Thieves , vultures! The only difference between a lawyer and a vulture is that a vuljture flies. This is the biggest pro blem we have in Zambia with regard to intellectuals. When their input is needed most they are quiet only to start criticising. when all is done. Let us be serious for once otherwise keep quiet please.

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