The Grand Coalition on the campaign for a people driven constitution in Zambia has called for a fresh stand-alone national referendum on the bill of rights to be held before the 2021 general elections.
ZANIS reports that Grand Coalition Chairperson Sarah Longwe said the coalition is concerned with the failed recent referendum that was held alongside the 2016 general elections.
The Grand Coalition said it is imperative that a fresh referendum is held before the 2021 general elections in order to enhance the civic rights of Zambians.
Ms. Longwe said that the national referendum is an important non-partisan issue which should be held separately as opposed to the way it was recently handled.
Addressing a press briefing in Lusaka today, Ms Longwe said that the expanded bill of rights should not be thrown away but revisited to conclude the constitution reform process.
Ms. Longwe has since urged government to quickly constitute an expert team to address some of the provisions which are not clear in the expanded bill of rights especially those negatively affecting women, children and people with disabilities.
She stated that government should also provide a clear roadmap for the holding of an all-inclusive fresh national referendum with a legal framework that will protect the content of the document.
Ms. Longwe further said there will be need for both government and the civil society to start sensitizing and educating the general citizenry on the provisions of the referendum act and the bill of rights.
She said the grand coalition has been in full support of the national referendum but was opposed to holding it alongside the 2016 general elections fearing that it may not achieve the intended purpose due to lack of consensus and inadequate sensitisation.