President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu signing the Constitution Bill whilst Chief Justice Irene Mambilima looks on during the Assenting of the Constitutional Bill Ceremony at Heroes Stadium yesterday 05-01-2016. Picture by ROYD SIBAJENE/ZANIS
President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu signing the Constitution Bill whilst Chief Justice Irene Mambilima looks on during the Assenting of the Constitutional Bill Ceremony at Heroes Stadium yesterday 05-01-2016. Picture by ROYD SIBAJENE/ZANIS

A civil organisation based in Lusaka has joined in calls on the President Edgar Lungu to reconsider the contentious grade 12 requirement for persons aspiring to be councillors.

Hope for Human Rights, Executive Director Smart Chanda says like other concerned parties on the issue, President Lungu needs to revisit the clause which he termed as discriminatory.

Mr. Chanda in as much as his HHR wants a new constitution, government must be mindful of the geographical setup of the country and the needs of the dwellers therein.

“It is clear from the debates going on that the grade twelve requirement for persons aspiring to become Councillors has not been well received and is in fact looked at to be segregative especially to our rural dwellers where it is not easy to find a Grade Twelve (12) School Leaver with a Certificate and willing to take up Councillorship, ‘ he said.

In a statement to ZANIS in Lusaka, today, Mr Chanda says further worrying is that the process which approved the Grade Twelve (12) Certificate School Requirement is believed to have involved submissions from the Traditional and Civic Leaders, the Church and other Groupings and further went through the District, Province, Sector Groups and National Conventions.

“The question is: how did this requirement go through all these stages without any of those people representatives opposing it?, ” he asked.

The HHR has sensed danger in the way the country wants to be formulating laws in this land, he said adding that it must be appreciated that Parliament still remains the legislative organ and it is very important that we allow this organ to debate the submissions coming from any organ or section before they are made into laws.

Mr. Chanda said If the debates were generated at the village level through the Traditional, Civic and Church Leaders, wards and constituencies, there would have been much consideration unlike where the Urban Dwellers initiated the process, took it to the districts and later concluded it themselves at the national level.

“We appreciate the roles played by Civil Societies like ourselves, but it must always be appreciated that at the end of the process, Parliamentarians debate and where possible formulate the right submissions into law, ” he said.

The civil organisation has thanked Republican President Edgar Lungu for having assented to the Constitution Bill which has even accorded the people to now look through the New Law and point out what they feel does not work well for them.

It is HHR”s belief that the President shall quickly use the possible avenues available to reverse the Grade Twelve (12) requirement for Councillors as this does not serve the interest of the majority Rural Dwellers and may just mean no representation at councillor level in a numerous rural wards.

We are aware that other groups will still condemn the move to reverse this but like in any other democracy, there will always be divergent views but it is always incumbent upon the Governor to govern.

Recently , the civil society raised concerns on the grade twelve requirement several Civic Leaders in Mkushi District appealed to President Edgar Lungu to revoke the clause that requires the grade 12 qualification as requirement for ward, parliament and Presidential candidature.

Chlata Ward Councillor James Nshimba (MMD) sayings President Lungu should consider revoking the controversial clause as it is discriminatory.

Mr. Nshimba said there is need to consider that the position of Councillor in particular should reflect the choice of the common people without regard for academic qualification.

The insistence on Grade 12 qualifications would lead to domination of leadership by the elite, he reasoned.

Zambia Council for Social Development Executive Secretary Lewis Mwape says the law requiring aspiring councillors to possess a full grade twelve school certificate is ‘overambitious’.

Mr. Mwape complained in an interview with ZANIS that high illiteracy levels in rural areas will make it difficult to find aspiring councillors with grade twelve certificates.

Mr. Mwape said the position of councillors in rural areas is usually left to the less educated and wondered how grade twelves will be wooed to contest in such areas.

He suggested that parliament should have lowered the requirement for councillors to grade nine level and not twelve.

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30 COMMENTS

  1. YES. It is catering to a Elitist people. No reason why a good village Head man without O’levels should not lead if he has run his village well and therefore has proof of experience and experiential learning by having held down a Leadership role. Some people just never got the chance we can’t close down their right to a hue e their Aspiration. Every human has the right to toil towards an achievement. We can change things and put help to ratify their decisions and mould their ideas into effective gov’t communications.

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    • Where were these people when the drafts were being circulated for comments and posible changes to start demanding for amendments this time around???????????????? Time waisters indeed !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    • Lewis Mwape said the office of councillor in rural areas was left for the less educated.
      I don’t like using derogatory language but seriously how stup!d can one get. Mr Mwape find a different case to make for your argument.

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  2. ..when Gen. Miyanda wrote to ECL not to sign the document till certain contentious clauses have been revisited…everyone including the HHR stayed aloof….no one came out to support him….3 weeks after signing every one is popping up like popcorns saying exactly what Miyanda wrote… Miyanda did not just utter words he wrote to ECL before he signed the blurry document…
    ….the amendment on that regard should come after the elections with a proof of shortage of grade 12 certificate holders to contest for councillorship….at the moment…its just a speculation that there wont be people contesting for such seats in rural areas….where is a documented proof…??…we need some one sitting in a council meeting understanding basic terminologies like…budget deficit…GDP….reading and…

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  3. Let’s stop going round in circles. What’s so elitist about mere grade 12? Ignore these nebulous rantings from unknown rights cartel.

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  4. Shameful request the constitution has not even stayed for a year. *****s we need something else where you when the bills were presented in parliament. Come on guys. The constitution is done and dusted.

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  5. People driven draft constitution had these issues. Better attempt g12, if chifwani grade 6 term 3 drop out wil surprise, so you can

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  6. This is no good precedent to start fidgeting with the newly amended constitution. This document was unanimously supported by the people of Zambia through MPS representation. Human rights group please learn to respect the majority vote. Ba KATEKA mwabombeni for signing off the document. Friends” WE SHAPED THE CONSTITUTION AND THE CONSTITUTION SHAPE US”.

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  7. Now I don’t understand Zambians surely grade 12 certificate can be an issue? some people just want to talk endlessly. Every law is decriminatory!! let me give examples
    1.0 you can only vote when you are 18 and above
    2.0 you can only have sex when you are 16 and above
    3.0 you can only drink bear when you are 18 and above
    4.0 you can only be MP when you are 21 and above
    5.0 you can only be president when you are 35 and above
    therefore you can only be councilor when you have grade 12 certificate or better full stop!!!

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    • IT CAN BE AN ISSUE ESPECIALLY IF EDUCATION IS NOT COMPULSORY BECAUSE GOVT HAS NO CAPACITY TO PROVIDE EDUCATION TO EVERY SCHOOL GOING AGE CHILD FOR LACK OF CAPACITY ON PARTY CAPACITY ON PART OF GOVT

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  8. Please don’t temper with the G12 clause, if you have to please if you wish to change put diploma.

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  9. I did my Form 50 years ago before that I was a villager.
    You mean a guy who is 35 years now has never tasted grade 12.Come on muzinkalako serious ba fiikala.

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  10. Bushe ba Mwape fisushi aba balikwisa?
    Mwaiseni tata cipuba cesu!
    Grade 12 mark the best so far for councilors.
    People in rural areas are happy with the clause.
    I received reports that rural people are happy and hope development to be realised.
    Schools are everywhere now. Each village in Zambia has some jobless G12s.
    It is one way of creating employment.
    No change should be entertained by any corrupt human rights group. Who are these clowns to change what the majority have agreed?
    When Zambia was led by the minority rulers, where were these clowns to float their ideas? Or are minority supporters?
    Journerists should also not entertain these retrogressive dimwits.

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  11. The fact that this consitution went unoppesd by these coucillors who were ululating at the siging ceremony goes to underscore why we need G12 minimum. Cause if they could read they would not have been dancing at Heroes stadium when the law was signed. Kulibe G12 should remain

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  12. I think we need the following:
    (1) President First degree
    (2) diploma
    (3) councillor Grade 12

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  13. I am really curious: Are you telling me that 50 years after Independence Grade 12 has not covered the nation? It appears there is more rot in the nation than meets the eye after all. It will not surprise therefore when mediocrity really comes out from the shadows!

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  14. WHAT HUMAN RIGHTS ARE U TALKING ABOUT SIR. THE OWNER OF THE COMPANY (ZAMBIANS) SETS QUALIFICATION FOR POSITIONS THEN U ALSO WAKEUP BCOZ ITS AFFECTING YO GROUP & YAPPING NONSE WHERE WERE U FROM 1991 -2015.
    I M VERY SORRY WE VE REACHED A STAGE OF NO RETURN. WHAT U ARE SAYING IS WORK FOR POLITICAL PARTIES TO LOOK FOR PEOPLE TO FILL THOSE WORRIES IN RURAL AREAS STANDARDS ARE SET U WANT TO BECOME A COUNCILLOR GO SCHOOL.
    LET SCHOOL IMPORTANCE BE FELT.
    #ITS UPTO INDIVIDUAL PARTIES TO CREAT IN HOUSE POSITIONS WHICH CAN EITHER BE SALARY MOTIVATED EG
    * PARTY CAMPAIGNERS,PARTY MEMBER MOBILISERS/RECRUTERS,PARTY INTELLIGENCY WING, ETC
    NB CONSTITUTION CANNOT MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY BUT ATLEAST THE MAJORITY SHUD BE HAPPY LIKE WE ARE. SO FOR GET ITS TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT.THE YOUNTH SHUD…

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  15. Sinkamba Wisdom – The clause for Grade twelve could remain but be amended to say at local government level Grade 9 Form 3 should be the entry points but MPs Grade 12 certificate should be sustained. I have just be talking with people in the country side. There is a big complaint because Grade 12 certificate requirement will disadvantage a lot of people at local government level. so let us amend this piece of legislation as it is discriminatory.

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  16. I dont agree with the G9 for councillors why? A councillor shud be G12 this person does more work than a mp especially when he is elected as mayor of a town.
    A councillor is a mirror of govt hence poor performance by these will mean poor accountability due to poor understanding of policies.
    No change to G12 NO CHANGE TO LUNGU VIVA ECL

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  17. This is the main problems with these civil organisation as this NGO. When the people decide, then they have done so and we don’t want your views ba NGO. Who are you to change what we have decided? We the people of Zambia want the G12 clause, then let it be. Who are you to change it? So that you get more funding from your “donors”?

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  18. Its sad that after the President Sign into law what we had been carrying for, we are turning round and say , this is NOT what we asked for. If we are are calling it back then lets call back the 50+1 too , which one of the layers attacked the President saying His signing is taking the country into a one party state democracy. I feel Zambia is not ready for the new constitution. The way we were shouting asking for it through forums, lam equally disappointed at the amount of ignorance we have expressed after. Les go back to simple majority, thank you Mr President for allowing us teste the complexity of the Grade 12, 50+1 and others

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  19. I don’t understand now what we human beings want, the bill was there but people never wanted to bring out these issues of G12 including the so called HHR before it was signed. Why do we like debating history and just wasting time. In my opinion I feel this clause will encourage our men and women in the rural areas to go to school especially those who want to become Councilors. We need people who can at least read and understand some issues. We should also improve our reading culture in Zambia I know very few people took keen interest in reading the bill when it was circulated in all the civic centers for possible scrutiny. Non of the counselors brought out issues of G12 probably because they can’t read. Please let us look at serious issues unlike wasting time on the past. By the way…

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