The Non Governmental Organizations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has charged that the proposed amendments to the Republican Constitution has nothing to do with people’s interests but based on personal, narrow, and selfish interests of some the members from the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party.
NGOCC Board Chairperson Sarah Longwe said that she is concerned with PF proposed amendment of the Constitution barely a few months after the enactment of the amended constitution.
Ms Longwe noted that the motion moved by PF Mwansabombwe Member of Parliament (MP), Rodgers Mwewa in Parliament on Wednesday to amend the Constitution to remove popular clauses that were proposed for inclusion by the Zambians themselves, who are the owners of the document is unfortunate.
“As an organization and civil society in general, we believe that our position for rejecting the piecemeal amendment of the Constitution was precisely to avoid some of the flaws that are now being witnessed,” she said.
She reaffirmed the need for Zambia to embrace a wholesome people-driven process that would completely repeal and replace the current Constitution.
“We note with concern mischievous attempts by the ruling party to now want to remove the majoritarian clause, requiring a winning Presidential candidate to get 50 percent plus 1 vote, from the Constitution so that the country reverts to the First Past the Post system,” Ms Longwe bemoaned.
She said the act shows that there is no understanding and appreciation of the need for separation of duties between the main legislation arm and the local governance system that now excludes Members of Parliament from the local councils.
Ms Longwe observed that the attempts to bring back the position of Deputy Ministers with no reference to the proposed structure of provincial assemblies and proportional electoral system that were set aside during the last Parliament sitting is a concern.
“In a period when the country is faced with serious cash-flow challenges, it is difficult to imagine a government that wants to pay a blind eye to a matter requiring magnanimity in the wake of rising cost of goods and services,” she noted.
She explained that It is clear that the added value of Deputy Ministers is almost nil given some of the experiences shared during the last government as it is considered to be unnecessary cost and is unacceptable.
“NGOCC wishes to reiterate that the Constitution belongs to the Zambians and not one political party, therefore, Zambians must be at the centre stage of giving unto themselves a Constitution that embodies the fundamental human rights and as well as promotion of good governance,” Ms Longwe explained.
She urged Parliamentarians to desist from further proposing amendments to the Constitution and recommit to citizens aspirations by doing the rights thing.
Ms Longwe said the Constitution making process is about Zambia, therefore, it must be driven by the people.