JCTR chides politicians calling for ‘NO’ vote in referendum

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FILE: UPND youths carry a placard to demand for the referendum as the mode of adopting the controversial draft constitution
FILE: UPND youths carry a placard to demand for the referendum as the mode of adopting the controversial draft constitution

A civil society organisation in Kasama district says it is very unpatriotic for some politicians to be influencing people not to vote ‘YES’ in the referendum.

Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) regional coordinator for Northern Province, Felix Chiwela expressed disappointment that some politicians were telling people not to vote ‘Yes’ in the forthcoming election.

Mr. Chiwela told ZANIS in Kasama toady that the referendum would benefit every ordinary Zambian if it goes through hence the need not to politicise it.

He observed that if people reject the referendum now, it will greatly cost the nation in future as government will spend a lot of money to start organising for another referendum.

Mr. Chiwela also urged people to realise that the country will still be compelled to go for a referendum should they try to shun it now.

He further called on all patriotic Zambians not to listen to selfish individuals but to look at how it will cost them huge amounts of money which should be channelled to other developmental activities.

Mr. Chiwela disclosed that JCTR has gone round in all the districts in Northern Province sensitising people and traditional leaders on why they should vote ‘yes’ in the referendum.

He further called on people to turn out in large numbers and vote in the general elections which will be held alongside the referendum on 11th August next week.

And The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has said the Bill of Rights being proposed was progressive as it aims at enhancing the economic and social rights of the citizens.

HRC Principle Planning and Collaboration Officer Lisbon Chaamwe said unlike in the current bill of rights which contains the political and civil rights, the proposed bill includes the economic and social rights of citizens.

Mr. Chaamwe said the inclusion of these rights in the constitution will guarantee protection of their human rights to health, decent housing and food among others.

He explained that the commission has not taken a position on the matter but was encouraging citizens to read and understand the content of the proposed bill of rights as they go to vote in next week’s referendum.

The HRC is on a sensitization mission in Solwezi, Kasempa, Mufumbwe and Mwinilunga districts in Northwestern province.

And Richard Kayoyo, a resident of Solwezi, said the inclusion of economic and social rights will enhance the enjoyment of human rights as they will guarantee the protection of every citizen.

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25 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t bit by the bush, just mention their names to shame them. For me it’s HH the main culprit in this. This guy is very selfish in all he does

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    • What about HH again, he is visiting his mother in village, to say goodbye since he be not given chance after going to State House next week?
      Do you call that selfish?
      All those referendum ballots are just worsted ballots. Just sell them as soccer tickets.

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    • THE REFERENDUM ISSUE HAS TO BE DEALT WITH IN A PROPER MANNER AFTER ALL ZAMBIANS HAVE RECEIVED ALL THE INFORMATION ON WHAT THEY ARE VOTING NO OR YES FOR. BUT FOR NOW, WE SAY VOTE NO AS A MEANS TO DEFER THE MATTER TO SOME LATER STAGE.

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  2. Most Zambians don’t understand a shhhit about referendum. Zambians only know political parties, most of them never even know who their MP is, they only look for symbols, such as “chanja”.

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  3. It seems a lot of Zambians think that if one person from their tribe is President, then that tribe is the one ruling Zambia. I personally don’t believe in that kind of perception because to believe so would mean that what ever under development we have suffered over the past 52 years coupled with the rampant corruption that has been embraced by more than 50% of the population would have to attributed to the tribe that has produced the most presidents in Zambia. But obviously this is not true. A president is an individual with their own blue print and thats why he is voted for by all Zambians. Any failure by any government spearheaded by a given president is a failure to be embraced by all.

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    • Continued from above……..

      If Edgar has failed, the real failures are Zambians who voted him in power regardless of where your village is. It is evident that poverty levels have escalated in Eastern province just as they have escalated in Southern, Northern and other provinces despite the fact that Edgar is from Eastern Province. PRAY FOR WISDOM, GOD WILL GENEROUSLY GRANT IT.

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  4. JCTR should also chide itself for urging people to vote YES.

    The most important message and information people require about the referendum is to inform them about its importance, relevance or irrelevance. Debate the pros and cons of the proposed changes and let people decide for themselves whether to vote YES or NO. To urge people to vote in a certain direction defeats the whole purpose of voting.

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  5. Continued………

    Its like trying to predetermine the outcome of the referendum. Mind you, voting NO may be the better decision for the country depending on circumstances. For instance my voting NO or YES may be affected by the fact that I may trust or may not trust an incumbent government’s capacity to handle such a delicate exercise. It is unlike political party campaigns where the parties in question seek to out do each other so every party have to tell the electorate to volt for them.

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  6. The referendum question goes like this…

    Do you agree to the amendment to the Constitution to enhance the Bill of rights contained in Part III of the Constitution of Zambia and to repeal and replace Article 79 of the Constitution of Zambia?

    There are two questions here which is very strange and suspicious even for the enlightened.

    Question 1: Do you agree to the amendment to the Constitution to enhance the Bill of rights contained in Part III of the Constitution of Zambia? (I have no problems with this one)

    Question 2: Do you agree to the amendment to the Constitution to repeal and replace Article 79 of the Constitution of Zambia?

    I agree with the first question but my contention is on the repeal and replace of article 79? Why repeal it? After repealing it what do you…

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  7. Article 79 requires that more than 50% of eligible voters in the country should vote yes in the referendum for the Bill of Rights to be amended. To be eligible to vote in a referendum one must only need to have a Green National Registration Card! So who has the register of eligible voters for the referendum?. I know there are some cadres here that don’t read and will confuse the General Election Voters card with an NRC which is the only document you need to be eligible. How many ballots are printed per district and which number do they follow? Is it according to the number of registered voters or people with NRCs? Mind you NRC registration is on-going and does not fall under ECZ.

    Last question why repeal this article in the first place? I have no problems with the proposed Bill of…

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  8. Continued…..
    Last question why repeal this article in the first place? I have no problems with the proposed Bill of Rights but I am against lowering the threshold in order for someone else to change my laws in the future without consulting me. That is why I am voting NO!

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    • Well explained my brother, this is what I was talking about. It is not just a matter of telling people to volt YES or NO. One has to understand the reasons and make their own decision.

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  9. Repealing and replacing Article 79 will lower the Threshold for changing the Bill of Rights in the future without our 50% + approval and having seen how these buffoons have messed up our constitution in the past I can never trust them to twick my rights without my consent! Hence voting NO to that!

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  10. So many misinformed people contributing here. Why do you have to believe everything a politician tells you. Read the proposed bill of rights & judge for yourself. Do you think a politician who is also capitalist doesn’t sleep @ night worrying about you? All they worry about is what they will take & not what they will give! Wake up from this stupor. This is your future you are dealing with not the future of a politician or tribe. The bill of rights with God’s grace are the only promising givers. Not a human being.

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    • Why are you just talking about the Bill of Rights? What of the repeal of article 79?

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  11. It is not wasting money Felix Chiwela! Do you know what changes need to be made that the government does not want share and inform the nation about? Why force people to sign a blank cheque over the referendum? Political parties are busy campaigning informing and misinforming the electorates as to why we should vote for them but who si doing the same your referendum? If PF can’t do it because it is preoccupied with their winning who can hijack and do that for them? Nothing has been spent on the referendum as you propose. If anything there are far more serious consequences to forcing its results now using an illiterate electorate over the same. Besides, it makes no sense to me for PF and ECZ to have rushed it before they are certain about next government who may not really prioritize it…

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  12. Besides, it makes no sense to me for PF and ECZ to have rushed it before they are certain about next government who may not really prioritize it since non so far have expressed passion over it in their campaigns. In addition, don’t you know that the outcome for the referendum is already predetermined? All who did Biology at school know that both the ear and eye are organs of PERCEPTION – so whether you vote or not like in Kaunda days where YES and NO were both in the affirmative.

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  13. EVEN LAZ can not come out in the open and let people vote YES. They think that if you say YES to the referendum you vote PF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Shame shame shame

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  14. The electorate has a choice to either vote YES or NO. It is therefore not a sin to campaign for a NO. The referendum question is too complicated as it has 3 parts (or 3 referendums). It needs to be simplified. We cannot trust the Govt who doctored the contents of the ammended constitution to allow Ministers to overlap and chew tax payers’s money for campaigning for themselves. What will prevent then to do the same with the bill of rights? Once beaten-twice shy. Ignore the referendum!

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  15. Personally I will be voting NO! Im not a satanist, tribalist or cartel member. But my conscious is clear in voting no. besides that is why there is a choice of yes and no, other wise there would have just been yes. My advise to voters is to vote according to their conscious and not because their party or anyone tells them to vote in a certain manner. And that is why I believe a NO vote is necessary. People do not have enough information to make a proper conscious decision. What is the bigger sin, to urge people to vote no because you are in opposition or to urge them to vote YES on something they do not understand. If the NO vote carries the day, the question can be brought back at another time. The cost should not be an issue if we value proper democracy which is not cheap. But if we…

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  16. Reason for Referendum is that Article 3 cannot be amended without the consent of the citizens. To change or enhance the Bill of Rights, you have to unlock this part of our consititution. The choice is yours but don’t influence others as this is not political but has to do a lot with Insambu Sha Muntu.

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  17. Mr. Chiwela is a danger to Zambia. In the first place, a referendum over the constitution is a very important exercise that can not be glossed over. It needs serious reflections. It is not a matter of urging people to vote yes. A No is also valid depending on the reasons advanced. You can not force people to vote yes even if they don’t agree with the contents. If it were so, why bring the referendum in the first place? this referendum is not going to fail because of a NO vote. It is going to fail because the threshold for eligibility will not be met. Do we even know how many people are eligible voters in Zambia? I Thought the JCTR an organisation I have so much respect for should have been tackling these issues that might make this referendum a shum. Please for once remove your partisan…

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