Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Government should First Consult the People before making changes to the Constitution

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SARA Longwe delivering her speech.
SARA Longwe

A group calling itself, the Civil Society Constitution Agenda, led by Sara Longwe,  has said that it rejects proposals by the Patriotic Front government to make substantive amendments to the Constitution without consulting the people.

In a statement released to the media today, the organisation said that the Members of Parliament get the authority to alter the constitution from the people and that the newly elected Members of Prliament have not made any consultations with their electorates.

Below is the full statement

PRESS STATEMENT
For Immediate Release
Lusaka, 13 th November 2016

People driven, popularised constitutionalism in Zambia

The Civil Society Constitution Agenda rejects proposals by the Patriotic Front government to make substantive amendments to the Constitution without consulting the people. The authority to alter the Constitution is derived from the people. What consultations have the newly elected Members of Parliament (MPs) done with their constituencies?

Article 2 of the Constitution states that as citizens, we all have the right and duty to:

a) Defend this Constitution; and

b) Resist or prevent a person from overthrowing, suspending or illegally abrogating this
Constitution.

Therefore, the proposed amendments to an already amended constitution should not be entertained
by any well-meaning Zambian as they are retrogressive and an affront to our democracy.

As the country’s supreme law, a constitution is sacred and it is unacceptable that some individuals
can just wake up and try to bulldoze such amendments. We are determined to fight this scheme, we
cannot allow a few selfish, arrogant individuals to ruin our country.

We say NO to substantive constitutional amendments without consulting the people! The
Constitution is our document, and we cannot, and will not, allow anyone to adulterate it for their
selfish ends.

The resolutions of the Technical Committee Drafting the Zambian Constitution were clear on the provisions that are being floated for amendment, as follows:

1. Inclusion of members of parliament in councils: According to the Technical Committee report, the exclusion of members of Parliament from Councils was suggested by 3 districts and by the Sector Group Convention. The National Convention nor the Technical Committee endorsed this provision. The reason given was that MPs do not attend council meetings. Therefore, we suspect that the reason for them to want to be in the councils is probably to benefit from the introduced salaries for councillors.

2. Reintroduction of the position deputy ministers: All conventions approved the exclusion of the post of deputy minister. None of the conventions raised any issue about having deputy ministers. Again the motive in bringing these back is giving/ awarding positions to ruling party cadres.

3. Removal of 14 days clause after presidential candidate is declared winner: 79 out of 82 districts (then) approved the 14 days. 2 of the dissenting districts wanted 30 days instead of 14 and one other district wanted the presidential petitions to be heard by local judges. All ten provincial conventions voted to retain the 14 days. The national convention resolved to retain the 14 days.

The question we ask is: whose interests are the new amendments serving? Certainly not our interests as citizens. It is clear that the Patriotic Front and their Members of Parliament do not have the people of Zambia at heart. If they did, they surely would have instituted a roadmap for consulting the citizens on this very important national matter. And they would have also prioritised addressing the current economic challenges that are further pushing citizens to starvation and premature death.

We further underscore that the amended constitution was bulldozed to be amended in parliament by the PF against the wishes of the people who wanted the whole document to be subjected before a referendum. Is the PF eating its own vomit?

To the people of Zambia, let us rise up and defend our rights and our lives. Let us not allow a few greedy individuals to create chaos. This is our Constitution, let us defend it.

We also call on the President to rise above partisan interests and defend our Constitution as he promised to during his presidential inauguration on September 13, 2016.

Aluta Continua!
Issued by:
Sara Longwe
Chairperson – Civil Society Constitution Agenda

77 COMMENTS

    • Problem in this country is that it is difficult to tell whether the NGO’s have genuine concern or are just fighting to advance their causes. Often times we have seen them fighting for one thing and when it is done they turn around against the very thing they supported. Sometimes I ask myself for what good do these civil society organizations exist. Who sponsor them and for what reason? They claim to talk on behalf of the masses and yet they themselves make decisions in the comfort of their homes without consulting the very people they claim to represent.

    • The only type amendments expected from MPs is that of clarifying clauses where there exist ambiguities or a lack of clarity.

      We do not expect or indeed want change in principles

      All principles there in are a submission from the Zambian people.

      Altering principles is equivalent to overthrowing or over-rulling the will of the Zambian people.

      It also would imply that MPs cannot be trusted with the constitution as they have no regard for it nor the people of Zambia.

      So, change of any principle should not be allowed, not after so much effort and resources were committed to the process.

      Selfishness with impunity is not in the interest of Zambian people.

    • I’ve told you before, this no time for rhetoric, its time for action. Edward & his will not listen to mere words. They need to feel the heat.

    • @Mop – kinda makes one wonder if anyone gets in to politics to make a genuine difference. Zed would be a different country if people were actually put first. All involved would go down as legendary visionaries. Mind boggling how with all the resources we have, the best we can do is pick mediocre and ignore self interest even when blatantly displayed. We owe future generations for this slump in moral obligations.

    • If there are going to any changes on the current constitution then lungu and the PF must pay the money the spent signing and dancing of that constitution at heroes stadium

    • Indeed the stupidity of a Zambian is at 100%. Someone frankly tells you that he has no vision for the country. You go ahead ahead and vote for him. Afterwards, you start complaining about the way the country is being run. Are you serious ba kwindi? Just enjoy the ride. By 2021 you will have big heads with very small bodies.

    • @ peace for Zambia: For the first time since your name appeared on this site you have said something sensible and constructive. All along all you have done is parrot tribal and unreasonable support of PF especially on the petition. Many Zambians do not trust PF and they do not mean well. They are the most corrupt and selfish individuals to have graced Zambian politics since independence. Expect the worst in the coming years.

    • They only thing these MPs should be looking at is why EL did not step down when the petition was lodged and move a motion to in pitch him for breach of the constitution, Period. This is what the people want.

    • Great job CSCA. We need more Zambians like you to stand up against this new tyranny threatening to engulf our country in a chokehold. We suppport you and stand with you. Just don’t count on Lungu to be on your side. His main focus and interest is first and foremost himself, and then secondly his minions. How can Lungu defend the current constitution when he clearly demonstrated that he had little to no knowledge of what it even contained in the first place? It’s mainly his minions who are interested in the new illegal amendments meant to benefit PF. So please don’t count on him to be on the ordinary Zambians’ side. If they want any new amendments made to the constitution, they need to involve the whole nation, and not just a few politicians with partisan interests.

    • Do our so called representatives in parliament really understand that they can be very annoying or they just don’t care since only death can rob them of the five year term once elected? Why want to rush into making changes to a Constitution that has not even clocked a year since enactment! They are busy on issues that have no immediate concerns by the Zambian people! The recall article that was removed by the same parliamentarians denied citizens the position of employer to these seemingly selfish lot! CSCA you have the support of many citizens in this push better not to be seen as rhetoric that you go to sleep after this statement. The best is as you have shown take the lead and make a coalition with groups of similar views to be the voice of the mostly underprivileged citizens!

    • @ 1.8 good observations there. Some creatures just support for support’s sake because of tribe. Baona manje, bayamba kuluka (Larry Maluma once sang)!

    • @ 1.8 Silent spectator,

      Your thinking is primitive; you live in the pre-stone age error.

      People are not right only when they agree or you agree with them. When you don’t agree you are only holding different views.

      And for your own information. Holding different views does not always imply one is right and the other is wrong. Actually you could both be right, you could both be wrong or indeed one could be right and the other wrong.

      In life, you have heard it said there many ways of killing a rat. So don’t be that naive and pre-historic to thing that you are the one imbedded with right ideas and other with wrong ones.

      Such attitude is totally messed up and does not belong to the normal society.

      Definitely I potty you, specially that you are unaware of, and totally unable…

    • @ 1.13 Lihuluhulu leli bolile,

      Actually, it is you and your friend @1.8 who behave like unclassified creatures.

      You are shocked that we can have the same view. This is because you are strangers to flexibily because of your commitment to your tribal where you support everything whether since or nonsense.

      Someone tells you I can only accept results if I win, if I lose I will not accept the results; you are there clapping and approving just because you are from the same tribe.

      Obviously that is shameful and pre-primitive era – an era before people became primitive.

      For you as long as that man from you tribe speaks you believe.

      Eve when he tells you that Maureen Mwanawasa has discovered his 14,000 votes in a bin, you believe because he is your tribesmate.

      You don’t…

    • Eve when he tells you that Maureen Mwanawasa has discovered his 14,000 votes in a bin, you believe because he is your tribesmate.

      You don’t even have slight sense of question what Maureen Mwanawasa was doing in the bin. Did Maureen become a bin picker? And how did those ballots get bundled together?

      For you, all the above questions are swallowed up in ‘tribe’, that is why you are shocked that I can disagree with people who agreed with yesterday.

      We do not agree with people for who they are but for what they stand for. Thus when what they stand for changes we will not agree based on tribe like you.

  1. Sara Longwe? Look who is talking! Are these not the same NGOs, NGOCC, Catholic fimo fimo, Oasis fimo fimo etc etc who gave us the defective and controversial constitution? Are these mot the chaps who wanted constituentcassemblies, regional assemblies, chiefs assemblies etc on the lines of parliament as if they did not know that the country could not afford it? Are these not the chappies who did wanted the draft constitution to be adopted as presented by themselves without anendment? I mean Sara and Company, you were part of the current problem, today you distance yourself and proclaim to be angels? What solution can you offer inwe ba kambwangala? Just say that you want donor money to fund your personal projects? By the way Sara you are also affiliated to the evil cartel and its god Mmembe…

    • @terrible: I recall you and many other PF supporters were so happy when the President signed the Amended Constitution in January 2016. Anyone who was against was labeled bitter or UPND cadre. General Miyanda was called all sorts of names when he called upon our President to carefully study the document before signing. K4.8 Million was spent on the signing ceremony. Why change the Constitution in less than a year? Was the Constitution signed in haste to fix the Opposition political parties?

  2. We need more of this to serve our country from neo-patrimonial govt of pf. let all Zambians wake up and stand for the good our country.

    • Neo patrimonial is a great term! When we care more about invention of solutions than fire fighting to extend terms, then we will invest in something that might face the global challenges ahead. We need our own answers to challenges not more place holders to stagnant processes. How about health, education and social reform to raise a new generation to counter what we fail to do? It should be the constitutional right of each child to benefit from the little we have. Instead this lot want the constitutional right to expand their already extensive bellies. None of them will build a better future.

    • People liked the new contitution because it covered DUAL CITIZENSHIP. Now is PF going to offer the DUAL CITIZENSHIP to Zambians?

  3. Contd….By the way Sara you are also affiliated to the evil cartel and its god the chief vampire Mmembe – in liquidation, kikikikikiki.

  4. I totally support you and agree with all your concerns. We will not allow it to happen. If they try to intimidate us (like they always), we will use both brains and physical abilities to let justice prevail. We are coming to the ‘boiling point’ slow but sure.

  5. Guys whatever your issues are with the writer, think about what she has written, think about the issues that affects this country daily and its future. Be aware of implicit bias ‘subjectivity’ in human decision making . Lets have a conversation about issues raised not personal issues. We all share one thing ‘Zambia’ and each of us have the opportunity to make a positive difference. I’ll give an example of a legitimate concern, what is the purpose of having duplicated government positions like deputy ministers when we already have to many ministries (bloated government) filled with cadres. They are non performing, that we all know. I challenge them to reply on this forum and tell us what they have achieved in concrete terms not some vague statements of borrowing and building…

  6. 1950s-like structures at exorbitant prices. Warning. we are slowing approaching the tipping point, If Zambia does not change the ‘economic trajectory’, It will be impossible to sustain the growing population.

  7. Why would you expect a government like pf which forced itself on the people through vote theft, to consult the people it swindled in the first place? Dictatorships do not care what the people want. Its all about PF. Until zambians start demanding change and holding parties like pf accountable, you will continue been taken for a ride. Wake up

  8. It is about time. In Namibia, just next door, the Minister of Home Affairs was overpowered when she tried (with her Attorney General) to mutilate the constitution because of a small baby born to foreign expats whom she was resisting to issue a birth certificate to and in the process endeavored to change the constitution “in case he became President in the future”. Talk of Herod tendencies right there. Anyway, it is time we started holding our MPs to account. STOP this dununa reverse every five years. START engaging your MPs and carrying out RESOLUTIONS over matters that they should carry to parliament. When an MP is voting s/he must vote because his people said so not because his dununa reverse dictated that he do so. Thanks, Sara!

  9. These same NGOS are answerable to whom…if not to Zambians then let them shut their mouths…At least Zambians elected UPND and PF members of parliament…

  10. I THINK THE CONSTITUTION NEEDS TO BE REVISITED ONLY ON SOME PERTINENT ISSUES AS BELOW:
    1. THE CONSTITUTION NEEDS TO PUT IT IN CLEAR BLACK AND WHITE TERMS WHETHER THE SITTING PRESIDENT MUST STEP DOWN IMMEDIATELY THERE IS A PETITION.
    2. THE 14 DAYS OF HEARING THE PETITION MUST BE IN BLACK AND WHITE.
    UNLESS THE PRECEDENT SET BY THE CONCORT HAS NOW BECOME LAW, THEN I WILL HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH THAT.
    FOR ME , THOSE ARE THE ONLY CHANGES THAT WE CAN LOOK AT.
    THE OTHERS ARE THE CHANGES THAT WERE LEFT OUT OF THE AMENDED CONSTITUTION WHICH THE THEN MINISTER OF JUSTICE, SMBYAKULA SAID CAN BE DEBATED LATER. NOT THE ONES SUGGESTED BY THE INDEPENDENT MP.

    • Chisenga; I do not think the constitution needs revisting but needs to be explained in very simple terms to our MPs especially those that were shouting yah yah without understanding the implecation of putting their voices and signitures to an important document; the constitution should not be tampered with; already it has been disregarded by the head of state; judges and a few others; let us respect the PEOPLE DRIVEN CONSTITUTION.

  11. May your NGO also probe Edgar Lungu and PF for killing a defenceless woman, Mapenzi a UPND supporter during a peaceful camgaing in Lusaka. The blood of this young lady is still hanging on Edgr Lungu’s head and the might God is aware of everything that happened. The following sunday you mock God by pretending that you are God chosen.

    • No, ask your party president he might know something about it. Just study and critically analyse his movements immediately after that fateful day and tell whether that was normal for a a normal and upright human being to do when you have just lost those dear to your heart.

    • The opposition MPs, 52 of them, have already voted against Rogers Mwewa and PF’s motion to change the Constitution. Instead 91 PF MPs voted for the motion.

  12. Oh Sara, I nearly missed your point. What you really want is the setting up of a constitutional amendment committee where you will sit and make some handsome allowances, not that you are worried about MPs getting a salary from the councils. Me I think that the constitutional amendments should aim at polishing up or clarifying those issues which we now know have been abused by losers, sorry I mean one known loser. But those issues are technical in nature. Let Mrs Jere and her lawyers in the Ministry of Justice of Hon Lubinda correct the errors. They can take a retreat if they wish and I have no quarrel paying them reasonable allowances for the noble work.
    So Sara, we will also fight your backdoor disguised attempt to reestablish another constitution commission just polish up straight…

  13. Contd….So Sara, we will also fight your backdoor disguised attempt to reestablish another constitution commission just to polish up straight forward issues. No deputy ministers, no 7 years term, no salaries for councillors, no executive mayors, no political or NGO nonsense, no allowances for NGOs, no NCC, just polish the goddamn thing, silly!

  14. This bit by bit cannibalization and delegitimization of the constitution must stop.Some selfish PF animals should stop thinking they’re more equal than others.

  15. WE ARE WITH SARA ON THIS ISSUE AND WE WILL JOIN IN TO STOP THE CONSTITUTION TO BECOME A PATRIOTIC FRONT CONSTITUTION. COME ON YOU GUYS ARE IN POWER. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT? TO TURN US BACK INTO A ONE PARTY STATE? GOD FORBID. SOME OF US FOUGHT HARD TO USHER IN DEMOCRACY AND WE WILL NOT SEE IT VANISH BECAUSE OF A FEW WHO ARE AFRAID TO BE REMOVED FROM POWER TO ANSWER FOR THEIR MISDEEDS.

  16. @9 Nez, the 14 days time limit for hearing a petition is clear as daylight in the constitution. We never even got to the level of “determining”, HH’s simply denied him the chance to present his evidence if he any at all. The full bench of the Concourt presided over by none other than Judge President Hilda Chibomba threw out the petition on account of the 14 days time limit. Whether the petition had any merit or not we shall never know. All that we know is that the demise of the petition took us back to the pre-petition status, i.e. that ECZ had declared a winner and supported by the monitoring groups, and subsequent court losses by HH including the High Court and Concourt. Only the loser has remained arguing a baseless case. So bwana don’t mislead us, just shut up and prepate a new…

  17. Contd…..Only the loser has remained arguing a baseless case. So bwana don’t mislead us, just shut up and prepate a new candidate for 2021, your Mr Hichilema is a spend force, won’t be useful in 2021.

    • PF are scared to face HH again in 2021 because a decimated economy and a riotous jobless mob in Mandevu will not be a good excuse for rigging the elections again. Your crookedness is catching up with you. You will have nowhere to hide.

  18. How the MPs decided on their yes and no votes is a good point. What consultation did they have with constituents to draw their conclusions. Deciding for us doesn’t quite cut it.

  19. @9 Ned, omission/correction: HH’s lawyers let him down by failing to successfully prosecute his ill fated petition for him despite the hefty fee he had to pay them (I hear it’s no less than USD1 million, about K9.5million, or K9.5billion in old currency). When the lawyers were reminded that the petition was out of time, they sought to save face and maintain their ill gotten fees by walking out. Biggest fraud in legal history but clean execution I must confess, and HH didn’t see it!. HH should direct his anger at those who defrauded him of his money for what they knew was a useless petition.

    • Hey Mr. @Terrible, cool it man on your HH. We’re tired of your appetite for that guy. Do you really have no other points to discuss? This is about Sera Longwe and the constitution but for you as usual it is HH and the elections! You’re sick!

    • HH will continue to give Lungu and his minions diarrhoea for a long time to come. They can look happy and confident in public but when it is toilet time……bazanya manzi.

  20. The views expressed in this article should be supported. PF should not be allowed to abrogate the constitution to satisfy their bellies. Let them concentrated on revamping the economy. ECL should wake up and do his job he got through trickery instead of creating pot holes in the constitution to facilitate draining government resources.

  21. The amended constitution is a defective document passed during the night by Parliament and signed by the president with his eyes closed. The route that this document took was against the peoples wish. So what do we expect,chaos.

  22. @24.1, yes you are right I have an appetite for HH. And that appetite is not about to go away because he happens to be a tragedy, a comedy devoid of laughter. And how does my appetite for HH go away when the guy seeks to attract my attention? And I want to make sure that I expose him for the fake “economist” that he is, for how can a real “economist” tell such lies about free education, free everything from the same mouth that tells you and me that the country is broke? An “economist” who does not think that low copper prices can affect a country whose export earnings are predominantly copper? An “economist” whose top “economic” team comprises the likes of GBM? An “economist” who will fight corruption by putting GNM in charge? I am glad you noticed my “appetite” for HH, it…

    • You are right iciici is a tradigy he doesn’t really properly still living in denial he thinks the votes he stole in southern province supported by his tribal cousin provinces gbv would make him win what a trump

  23. @24.1 Naomi, Contd… An “economist” who will fight corruption by putting GBM in charge, the renowned tenderpreneur of Zesco poles? I am glad you noticed my “appetite” for HH, it tells me that you are worried that I am succeeding in exposing the political and economic fraudster of our time. Thanks for that…and hiho hiho hiho hiho hiho to you, Sir!

    And I have adequately dealt with the other fraudster, Sara, and my take on constitutional amendments, didn’t you read or are you so politically blind that you could only read HH in my whole comments? NEXT!

  24. If people like me don’t expose political fraudsters, you will elect them. So for me I will not leave space for HH to manouvre until he is either politically buried or matures and starts talking sense and, most importantly, if he takes a patriotic stance towards his country.

  25. my opinion is that there is no conslatative procedure between the MPs and their general electorates. I do not know what Longwe means when she says members should be consulted. How? NGOs are not members but part of the group that gave us a defective constitution, i believe. We sent our MPs with a mandate to clean up the mess that they created. Whats wrong, then, with an MP proposing an amendment to the constitution? These NGOs are, in most cases, representing their individual interest. Who are they to speak on our behalf. Are they appointed or voted for? who votes for them? Zambians, we have one body that we have given mandate to change laws, our Parliament. Those that are not happy should make submissions through heir constituency offices and not shout anyhow.

  26. This is when we really need independent papers. Looks like Zambians have had their tongues cut off. There is a clear need for a conduit or forum through which pressure and checks and balances can be exerted on this wanton regime. MPs are not representative – not in Zambia at the moment anyway. In fact they are not only ‘anti-people’ but impotent on many issues that require attention in the country (an economic direction, fight against corruption, health, education agricultural policy and a social net in the meantime for the vulnerable)

  27. @terrible shani shani uko you are trying too hard my friend. Calm down. Didnt you learn how to summarise at school? ama essay which no one is reading kikiki ukose

  28. Any Zambian who cannot defend the constitution is unpatriotic. It is therefore upon all of us to stand up and defend the constitution from the vicious pending rape by selfish PF. It is very clear that the PF have no heart for the majority Zambians they claim put them in power. Instead, they are their to make own personal gains at the expense of Zambians. Students and every citizen alike, let us stand up for Zambia by defending our sacred constitution.

  29. The constitution is the bedrock of any society. If changes are needed the government should ask the people how the road map should be. We are just getting rumors that a so called Chitotela has introduced the bill to amend the constitution without asking the owners of that property. The constitution doesn’t belong to Members of Parliament and the executive. It belongs to the people.
    I read some negative comments accusing Sara Longwe of belonging to cartels. We have to be careful with PF cadres or there are surrogates. They won’t hinder our resistance, we shall block them. Lungu is too small we defeated Chiluba and Sata over third term amendment.
    Zambians woke up , Lungu has appetite for power he wants to cheat Zambians to come and extend his rule to cannibalizie the whole society…

  30. The constitution is the supreme document of Zambia written with the consent of the governed and should therefore only be changed with consent of Zambians.Politicians are selfish animals and can’t be trusted to alter the supreme law without serious conflict of interests.

  31. This is the corrupt and greedy PF you voted for. Am not affected by what these politicians of the belly want t do but I care for my whole country folk. Resit PF corrupt plans and vote wisely next time

  32. IS SARA TELLING US THAT THE CONSTITUTION AS IT IS , IS PERFECT AND DOES NOT NEED ADDITIONS AND ALTERATIONS.
    1. WE DO NOT NEED TO ENSHRINE THE EXPANDED BILL OF RIGHTS IN THE CONSTITUTION?
    2. WE ARE HAPPY WITH THE PRESIDENTIAL POWERS?
    3. WE HAVE ACCEPTED THAT MINISTERS WILL ONLY COME FROM AMONG MPS?
    4. THE PUBLIC ORDER ACT DOES NOT NEED THE CLEAR BLESSINGS AND GUIDANCE FROM THE CONSTITUTION?

    IF LONGWE IS HAPPY WITH THE STATUS , THEN LET ALL NGOS KEEP THEIR MOUTHS SHUT ON THE CONSTITUTION. DONT JUST SPEAK WHEN IT SUITS YOU. THE SAME POLITICIANS WILL TURN AND BLAME YOU THAT “YOU DID NOT WANT TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION”. SO BE CAREFUL.

    • All Longwe is saying is that MPs should not amend the constitution without consulting the citizens. Citizens should have an input. Simple English but some people do not understand

    • Constitution will only be changed to suit PF like it did during the last elections. The government has work to do but the are folloing around with paperwork and ignoring the economic issues. Go back to work and sort out the economy. Changing the constitution will not bring food prices down – no more sacrifies were are getting tired of this government.

  33. Personal sentiment very often found itself disguised as consensus. The personal sentiment was visible in various dubious clauses, including Christian Nation and 50% plus 1 vote. For the majority of Christians, the Christian Nation Clause is not necessary as it can discredit other religious groupings that are in the minority in the country. Protection of Minority Rights is also criticsal for democracy to succeed. Similalry, insisting on a re-run at presidential canditate level alone in poor developing countries can translate into a fantom. Pretenders can not make democrats. Future generations can be free to activate the majoritarian presidential clause when the development attains a reasonable level of sophistication. In a nutshell, the Draft Constitution was not subjected to full debate…

  34. After reading today’s (15/11/16) govt media about what H.E. President Edgar Lungu said about constitutional ammendments, i can safely say we as Zambians are fcuked!! That man is blind and does not know what he wants to do.

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