Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) has called upon all stakeholders to embark on educating Zambian citizens on its contents in readiness for the referendum to be held on 11th August 2016.
In a statement released to the media, TIZ Executive Director Goodwell Lungu noted that that the provisions of the Bill of Rights among others will help in making the State to be accountable to the citizens and that stakeholders will only waste time at this hour if they concentrate on debating the process.
Below is the full statement
TIZ PLEASED WITH PROGRESSIVE BILL OF RIGHTS RELEASED
Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) is pleased that the just released Bill of Rights is progressive and would like to urge all stakeholders to embark on educating Zambian citizens on its contents in readiness for the referendum to be held on 11th August 2016. We have noted that in the past, stakeholders have spent a lot of time debating the process of enacting the Constitution thereby denying citizens an opportunity to be educated on the contents.
TIZ notes that the provisions of the Bill of Rights among others will help in making the State to be accountable to the citizens. Some of the key progressive elements of the Bill are that it will guarantee the rights of freedom of expression, assembly, association, access to information (which has been a long cry and demand by most governance CSOs), equality before the law, youths and children’s rights, social, political, legal, economic and cultural rights of citizens.
The Bill further guarantees the freedom and independence of the media in article 23 (1). The key elements noted are as follows;
11. (1) The Bill of Rights, as provided for in this Part, is fundamental to democracy and constitutionalism and shall be the basis of Zambia’s social, political, legal, economic and cultural policies and State action.
Recognition of role of civil society
12. The State shall recognize the role of civil society in the promotion and protection of the Bill of Rights.
Access to Information
22 (1). A person has the right of access to information held by the State or another person which is lawfully required for the exercise or protection of a right or freedom.
Enforcement of Bill of Rights
57 (1). A person who alleges that a provision of the Bill of Rights has been or is being contravened, in relation to the person, may apply for redress to the Constitutional Court or to another court which that person has immediate access to.
58. The President shall, each year, when addressing the National Assembly, report on the measures taken by the state in the realization of the Bill of Rights.
In December 2015, TIZ through our Vice President Mr. Joseph Kalungu Sampa, recommended that in moving forward, stakeholders needed to focus on ensuring that we have a campaign that will ensure that the 2016 National Referendum adopted the remaining progressive articles. TIZ wishes to reiterate its consistent position that stakeholders will only waste time at this hour if they concentrate on debating the process.
In its view, now is the time to educate the public on the contents of the Bill of Rights. TIZ shall disseminate the Bill of Rights, mainstream and educate the citizens on its contents countrywide, using all its platforms that will include, workshops, radio and TV programmes and its website and Facebook page. For avoidance of Doubt, we have herewith attached the said Bill of Rights
Transparency International Zambia
You can download the Bill of Rights Below