The Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue has started collecting submissions on the changes that political parties would like to see in the constitution during the review process of the document.
Speaking at the close of a two day sensitisation workshop with the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), ZCID Executive Director Monica Kanjimana said ZCID is providing space for individual political parties under its auspices to make submissions in their individual capacities to the constitution review process.
Kajimana said the parties have not made any submissions after the call which was made by the Justice Ministry for stakeholders to make submissions towards the constitution review process.
“This is a ZCID platform which is being convened with financial assistance from National Democratic Institute (NDI) basically to provide space for us to be able to contribute to the constitution review by having political parties in their individual capacities. It is not a cross party program it is an individualised party program where we are hoping each political party under the auspices of ZCID will be able to make submissions on the political parties bill.
“As you maybe aware the Minister of Justice had made this call sometime back for political parties and other stakeholders to make recomendations and submit to the Ministry of Justice the changes and reforms they would like to see on the Public Order Act and for ZCID this is the first step in that direction. Of course the ZCID did meet with a few of their constituency members and made submissions but this is a more elaborate and comprehensive move. These meetings will be convened with all political parties that have representation in parliament and finally they will be one meeting of all the parties without representation in parliament,” she said.
And FDD Secretary General Nathan Mulonga said his party was of the view that incorporating submission from his party would go a long way in providing fair chances as regards the holding of public meetings.
Mulonga who is the current Chairperson for ZCID noted there is need for political parties and other stakeholders to hold meetings without so many unnecessary hurdles.
“We believe that what we have looked at and what we have reviewed from the document will go a long way in ensuring that the people of Zambia and indeed the members of FDD are given a fair chance when it comes to holding public meetings.
“I think this has been the out cry of the FDD that when we are having campaigns or public meetings we should be given permit to hold meetings without the unnecessary hurdles. We believe that with this document once it is presented to the minister of Justice and indeed the Ministry of Home Affairs they will be able to pick up these submissions and incorporate them into the proposed amendements that are going to be presented to parliament.
“The POA has been a contentious issue through and through and we hope that if it is attended to in enerst it would help alot in managing the political environment in this country,” he said.
And Southern African Centre for Constructive Resolutions of Disputes SACCORD Executive Director Boniface Cheembe expressed optimism that the ministry would take on board the submissions from political parties on the Public Order Act.
He said his organisation was of the view that the problamatic Act would be amended to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.