President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has this morning officially opened the National dialogue that is taking place at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka.
The President has called for utmost seriousness from the participants who are all representing the Zambian People stating that it is a big responsibility that should be undertaken diligently for the good of the Citizens.
He stated that the dialogue on the draft constitution was a quality assurance validation forum which would provide input or clarifications on the earlier submissions which have been made over the months in order to refine the constitution and governance related legislation such as the Public Order act, the Electoral Process Act and the Political Parties Bill.
He stated that the constitution amendment process had been long and thorough beginning with approval of a private members motion in Parliament which urged government to amend the constitution, Cap 1 of the laws of Zambia, in order to address inconsistencies.
He stated that following the approval, government called for submissions from stakeholders such as the Civil Society Organisations, Government Institutions such as the Judiciary and Commissions, Statutory bodies, Professional bodies and individuals.
He added that the Ministry of justice then collected the submissions after which a zero draft constitution of Zambia (Amendment) bill was prepared and further subjected to more scrutiny by various institutions which included the Judiciary, the National Assembly, Cabinet Office, Ministry of Justice, the National Prosecution Authority, the Legal Aide , the Office of the President and other relevant line Ministries. And in line with the constitutional requirements, the bill was approved by cabinet for introduction in Parliament for possible ammendment.
The President however stated that in 2018 government was requested to defer the Publication of the bill by the Zambia Centre for Inter Party dialogue to enable Political Parties and the church mother bodies to finalize the dialogue process which had commenced. And government which has the mandate to discharge Executive functions proceeded to approve a roadmap to consider the constitution (Amendment) bill, 2019 at a national validation meeting for all Stakeholders. An action which followed discussions between the church and the Zambia Centre for Interparty dialogue on the focus areas of the national dialogue, and the platform for the dialogue process.
“At this meeting stakeholders who included some of you delegates made submissions on the draft constitution and governance related legislation. This forum has therefore been constituted to validate the draft constitution before it can be introduced in Parliament. ” he said.
The President took time to reiterated governments commitment to the constitution ammendment process as well as to continuous dialogue among all Zambians.