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Alba Iulia
Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Government is lying, we were not consulted over the Governance Bills-Church mother bodies

Headlines Government is lying, we were not consulted over the Governance Bills-Church...

Representatives of the Three Church Mother Bodies making a presentation at Parliament Buildings
Representatives of the Three Church Mother Bodies making a presentation at Parliament Buildings

The Three Church Mother Bodies have accused government of lying that they were consulted in the formulation of the recently proposed governance related bills.

Representatives of the Three Church Mother Bodies stated that they were never consulted on the National Dialogue (Constitution, Electoral Process, Public Order and Political Parties) Bill.

Appearing before a Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs, Human Rights, National Guidance, Gender Matters and Governance, the Three Church Mother Bodies stated that they age concerned that the Bill itself does not recognise or take into account the efforts being made by the Church.

The Church Mother Bodies charged that yeh are extremely disappointed that they have been listed under the schedule to the Bill as one of the organisations that submitted to the Constitutional Refinement process and yet they never made any such submissions as reflected on the dates in the schedule.

Below is the full statement

SUBMISSION OF A MEMORANDUM TO THE LEGAL AFFAIRS, HUMAN RIGHTS, NATIONAL GUIDANCE, GENDER MATTERS AND GOVERNANCE PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE ON THE NATIONAL DIALOGUE (CONSTITUTION, ELECTORAL PROCESS, PUBLIC ORDER AND POLITICAL PARTIES) BILL 2019

1.0. Introduction

The Zambian Government has proposed to enact into law a bill on National Dialogue (Constitution, Electoral Process, Public Order and Political Parties). This draft bill proposes to establish a Dialogue Forum to make amendments to the 2016 Constitution, the Electoral Process, the Public Order Act and Political Parties bill, premised on the Siavonga resolutions of political parties.

At the outset we would like to state that we the three Church Mother Bodies have been facilitating a process of National Dialogue and Reconciliation which speaks to socio-economic, political, cultural and religious issues. While we appreciate the fact that this bill attempts to give legal backing to the process of constitutional amendments and legal reforms, we are concerned that the bill itself does not recognise or take into account the efforts being made by the Church.

Thus far we have conducted wide consultations with various stakeholders such as political party leaders, Civil Society Organisations, Media, Labour Unions and other religious mother bodies. Arising from our consultations we have developed a comprehensive National Dialogue and Reconciliation Framework as well as guidelines for the proceedings of the process and terms of reference for different administrative organs of the Framework, such as the Technical Working Groups and committee of experts. All these efforts are aimed at promoting reconciliation, peacebuilding and national healing.

In the light of the foregoing, our impression is that the bill is giving extremely short time (ten days) which robs the whole process of a meaningful and comprehensive, constitutional, institutional and legal reforms.

2.0. Our concerns on the process

Firstly, we the three Church Mother Bodies, namely the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) and the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB), are extremely disappointed that we have been listed under the schedule to the bill as one of the organisations that submitted to the Constitutional Refinement process and yet we never made any such submissions as reflected on the dates in the schedule.

Secondly, we are concerned with the manner and speed with which the bill has been introduced. No sufficient time has been given for stakeholders to study, consult among themselves and have enough time for them to prepare substantial and comprehensive submissions to this committee.

Thirdly, the bill does not provide a guarantee for the protection of the contents that will be generated by the proposed National Dialogue Forum (NDF), because it will be subjected to further parliamentary deliberations and scrutiny.

Fourthly, we are seriously concerned with the proposed provision that all the members of parliament shall participate in the NDF deliberations and yet have undue privilege at the end of the NDF process, to alter the agreed contents of the bills, and enact them into law at the end of the whole process. We find this anomaly to be against the rules of natural justice, where in this case, the same people who will participate in the initial discussions will be the ones again to scrutinise the same contents (Bills).

Fifthly, we are concerned, as a matter of procedure with the simultaneous handling of the constitutional refinements together with the other laws which must derive from the constitution as a supreme law. We find this to be extremely strange.

Sixthly, learning from other jurisdictions, it is best practice, especially in constitutional making process, to put in place an independent committee of experts that would review and refine all the submissions of the NDF before they are taken to parliament for enactment. This way the constitution will avoid having inconsistences and lacunas.

3.0. Concerns on the Contents

Firstly, the preamble clearly suggests that there will be no changes to the Bill of Rights by way of a referendum. We feel that the bill of rights is too cardinal to leave out in this process because the Bill of Rights is essential to enjoying our rights under the constitution and every other law in Zambia.

Secondly, the Forum is highly dominated by Members of Parliament and Government officials. Our fear is that, when it comes to voting on particular issues not agreed by consensus, the government will always be in the majority. The foregoing is compounded by the fact that the Chairperson of the Forum (who is critical to the management of the process) shall be appointed by the President and merely ratified by the Forum. We are very concerned that this may compromise the outcome of the process. It is also odd that the Vice-Chairpersons have to come from outside the Forum.

Thirdly, we have grave concerns on the punitive actions provided in the bill, some of which are too severe and go against the spirit of genuine dialogue and freedom of expression.
Fourthly, we are of the view that deliberations should not be in camera. We believe that the proceedings should mandatorily be broadcast live on TV and radio. This is in line with the values of transparency and accountability mentioned in Section 3 of the Bill.

Fifthly, we find it strange that under Section 19, the President is given the power to dissolve the Forum before it has completed its work. This completely undermines the purpose of this whole process. The real danger is that due to political interference, members of the Forum will not be free to debate in case they say something the President doesn’t like.

4.0. Recommendations

1. We strongly recommend that the process of National Dialogue and Reconciliation be delinked from the proposed NDF and be left to a competent, neutral and credible mediators.
2. Sufficient time should be given for internal and external stakeholder consultation for effective engagement in this process.
3. Members of parliament should not be part of the NDF

5.0. CONCLUSION

It is now very clear that Government intends to maintain control of the National Dialogue and Reconciliation Process, which in our humble view is supposed to be linked to peace-building and reconciliation between political parties and the creation of a permanent peace-building institution similar to the one in Ghana as recommended by the Church in its proposed National Dialogue and Reconciliation Framework.
We are surprised that the whole idea of peace-building has totally been removed from this process, and concentration made on the political resolutions of the Siavonga meeting.
Inasmuch as we appreciate the apparent government political will in constitutional and legal reforms, our position as the three CMBs in this case, is that WE ARE NOT IN SUPPORT OF THE BILL IN ITS CURRENT FORM AND THEREFORE WE WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE NDF.

We will however, exercise our right to comment on emerging matters of national significance. It is our considered view that the process of National Dialogue and Reconciliation led by the Church should not be derailed. This is because we believe that this process will lead to a conversion of hearts and minds, leading to a united, reconciled and peaceful Zambia where all citizens freely participate in governance within a thriving social and economic environment, and this is the Zambia we want!

Bishop Charles Nseemani-Acting President – CCZ
Bishop Paul Mususu-EFZ President
Bishop George Lungu-Board Chairperson ZCCB

37 COMMENTS

  1. The PF are only interested in one thing. To stay in power. Wasn’t given Lubinda recorded saying that they needed to make changes to the constitution that favour PF? Beware zambians or else we will be hoodwinked.

    • Very true
      PF has no on interest for the welfare of the Zambian people. All our children at UNZA doing first year who will not have paid by Friday this week will have their rooms taken away and will not be recognized as students at the institution.
      So which vulnerable children should be assisted with bursary if not such as these?
      IS THIS GOVERNMENT HONEST TO ITS CITIZENS WITH ITS DEALINGS?

    • THE CHURCH VS THE TRIO VS GOVERNMENT
      ===========================
      1) “Inasmuch as we appreciate the apparent government political will in constitutional and legal reforms, our position as the three CMBs in this case, is that WE ARE NOT IN SUPPORT OF THE BILL IN ITS CURRENT FORM AND THEREFORE WE WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE NDF.”

      2) “leading to a united, reconciled and peaceful Zambia where all citizens freely participate in governance within a thriving social and economic environment, and this is the Zambia we want.”

      One then wonders, as the compromised CMBs gets to contaminate the CSOs, are we to discredit the entire Church, which is the body of Christ on account of erring individuals vis Mususu, Nseemani and Lungu? In the light of the second quote, what…

    • Child play, Stone-heartedness, Hypocrisy, My way or the highway as the drama unfolds and continues.
      ************************************
      Apparently its not the Church as we know it but the trio Mususu, Lungu and Nseemani.
      Apparently its not the CSO but the so called tge TMBs. So then what is the TMBs?
      Apparently it’s not about dialogue but Control, Power, and Money.
      Agents of stagnation and procrastination.
      Ati no MPs must be present yet they yearn for peaceful Zambia where all citizens freely participate in governance within a thriving social and economic environment.

    • Since when did churches joined Politics…since when did churches became opposition…whats up with this so called ‘mother bodies’…..????? I thought their place should be at the pew and talking to their congregants about life after etc

    • These bandits masquerading as men of God should be put in their place….they cheat their congregants about offerings and tithes etc……their congregants are poor and these so called men of God drive around in expensive cars and now they want to be vocal as if they’re elected officials…malabishi

    • PF will only stay in power when Zambians allow it. If they are feeling the pain of poverty and unemployment they have been subjected to, they will attach a premium to their vote. It is pointless voting minus taking stock of PF’s achievements in the tenure of their rule. Voting should be benchmarked with achievement. Let PF’s performance be a yardstick for them to be in power. I feel the line between the halves and the have-not is quite wide. There is abject poverty and hunger in this nation.

    • When we tell you these fooooools have no shame you think its a lie…this is why they are closing down stations and arresting people!!

  2. The 3 mother church bodies must closely monitor the PF and Given Lubinda and start formulating plan B now as the national dialogue process wont work under ECL.
    The PF are desperate to remain in power in 2021 and plan to do whatever its takes to achieve that dangerous goal.

  3. WHY ARE MESSING UP WITH THE SWEET PEACE OUR BELOVED CREATOR GAVE THIS COUNTRY………SELFISHNESS AND GREED IS GONA PUT THIS COUNTRY ON FIRE……ZAMBIA STAND UP FOR MAINTAINED PEACE, LOVE AND FORGIVENESS

  4. With due respect to the three church mother bodies no one elected them to unsurp the majority rule of an elected government. This language was drafted by the UPND sympathisers Bishop Mususu and CCZ general secretary Fr.Chikoya of the Anglican church. The current leaders of the three church mother bodies have really lost credibility and no one can trust them just like the politicians..What a shame

  5. I have read about very powerful people on earth who were feared by everyone. Here is a sample list:
    Goliath, Julius Cesar, Hitler, Bokassa, Mobutu, Amin, Mugabe etc. Usually in most cases it does not end well. Power is limited.

  6. why is it not getting through your thick skull kanshi, we rejected the bill of rights through the refrendum as instructed by the small god of dundumwezi, the civil society as instructed by marry longwe and the five church father bodies as instructed by bishop telespho twin. stop behaving like your colonialists over BREXIT. i believe parliament has the mandate to enact laws and not any other kantemba, Government should go ahead a do the right thing without consulting anybody because the people of zambia voted for you and not the the civil society like the one man macdonald chimanzee’s NGO. government should stop accommodating these hired guns. if you are going to include them in the refining process i will personally sue the government. why do technocrats behave like small goats in zambia…

    • Did you read so called “Bill of Rights” (LOL)?
      Or you are just blabbing without knowing f*ck-all abut with the hope that Endemically Corrupt Leader will toss few silver pieces in your direction??

  7. The so called church mother bodies are very disorganised and they do not know how they should participate in the national building matters. Are the “Fathers”part of this grouping? So why don’t we call it the church mother and Father bodies” On a seroius note, the church is an important component of our great nation and they need to be more organised if the Government did not consult them or send communique to them (Church bodies) then it is a big mistake. Tere is a need to develope a time frame for all these undertakings otherwise there will be no bill tabled in this country. This a good sign of for our democracy. Bwana Lubinda, consult all stake holders in these processes.

  8. PF will only stay in power when Zambians allow it. If they are feeling the pain of poverty and unemployment they have been subjected to, they will attach a premium to their vote. It is pointless voting minus taking stock of PF’s achievements in the tenure of their rule. Voting should be benchmarked with achievement. Let PF’s performance be a yardstick for them to be in power. I feel the line between the halves and the have-not is quite wide. There is abject poverty and hunger in this nation.

  9. The mandate of the Church is to facilitate relations between humans and Christ or God.

    Dialogue of political nature is outside the mandate of Church world over

    • Really, who mediated between Government of Columbia and FARC?
      Who mediated between Government of Philippines and Muslim rebels?
      Who was involved as go between the terrorists in Northern Ireland?

  10. Please look at the first and 3rd recommendations
    1. We strongly recommend that the process of National Dialogue and Reconciliation be delinked from the proposed NDF and be left to a competent, neutral and credible mediators of which we the 3CMBs are not.
    2. Sufficient time should be given for internal and external stakeholder consultation for effective engagement in this process.
    3. Neither the Church Mother bodies (CMBs) nor Members of parliament should not be part of the NDF

  11. To all parties concerned , hear the word of truth hates: All of you want to promote, protect and advance your interests . But you have to come to your five senses and resolve this issue amicably. You must have one thought and toque. Not today you tell the people of Zambia to vote against a good Bill of Rights and tomorrow you come and start crying that you want the Bill of rights…this is nonsense. What am I saying?? I am saying stop being childish.

    • Did you read so called “Bill of Rights” (LOL)?
      Or you are just blabbing without knowing f*ck-all abut with the hope that Endemically Corrupt Leader will toss few silver pieces in your direction??

    • @Just asking,
      Dear I read it from front page up to the reference. I have even a copy. Copies were circulated free in all news papers. It was a very good Bill of right I even thought it was too much for Government because the Bill rendered Government powerless…it gave almost all powers to Zambians. You voted against it under the instructions of your small god, corrupt Civil Society Organizations , some of the corrupt churches etc…. this is how dull you were and are. You gave back the power to government after trashing this opportunity…and now Government is very happy and i doubt if they will bring it back. It is a lost opportunity and you must stop crying forthwith. Have you listened??

    • 13.1 I participated in the education and sensitization on the the Bill of Rights Referendum and I still have all pamphlets concerning the same. Most Upnd (assumed) members had only one answer : That the PF had inbuilt mechanism which if you marked YES would give the vote to the PF. If you want I can send you all the literature which includes the Genesis of the one party state up to the 3rd republic. Please do try from time to time assess what others are saying. As for the churches, I think they must realize that making laws is the duty of Parliament.

    • 13.2 We have a problem with the opposition especially the Upnd. I get worried that with such bitterness would such people be in the right frame mind to govern us ? I was inducted as an educator on BoR and what JUST ASKING is saying confirms the reasons behind the resistance we faced from certain quarters went around explaining to the people.

  12. Truth Hates, Bad parts of the document are, the president can desolve the NDF anytime, anyone with a divergent view or against the deliberation can be arrested, the majority members are civil servants who are damn scared and can’t oppose anything for fear of jobs. Government also lied that they received submissions from the 3 mother bodies. Why lie? Let Lungu go ahead than to bring other people as rubber stamps.

  13. These so called church mother bodies are just a bunch of politicians that are desecrating the body of Christ.

Comments are closed.

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