The ruling PF has sensationally u-turned on its support of controversial proposals in the National Dialogue Forum.
The PF has released a statement through its Media Director Sunday Chanda which it is calling official position on the NDF.
In a turn of events, the PF whose members and officials passionately defended the controversial resolutions now opposes almost the entire list of controversial proposals.
The party said it supports the Christian Nation provision as it stands in the current Constitution without any amendments.
“We say NO to Deputy Ministers. We say NO to Coalition Government,” the brief statement read.
“We say YES to Mixed Member Proportional Representation to ensure the inclusion of youths, women and the disabled. We AGREE that the time for a Presidential Petition must be increased from 14 days to 30 Calendar Days.”
“We AGREE that Mayors and Council Chairpersons must be elected from among the councillors to save unnecessary costly elections since these officers enjoy no special executive powers.”
Below is the Press release
Press Statement by PF Secretary General Hon. Davies Mwila following the Central Committee’s sitting on 15th July 2019
On the 8th of July, 2019, the Central Committee of the Patriotic Front chaired by the Party and Republican President His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu met and deliberated on amongst other things the proposed amendments in the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2019. The deliberations and resolutions were informed by the wide consultation that had been taken within the party structures as well as with the Zambian people.
The Party is aware of the lies, the malice and falsehoods being championed by the Opposition and their surrogates in the Civil Society and some sections of the media against Patriotic Front and its leadership regarding the various NDF Resolutions.
Let me state that as a matter of principle, Patriotic Front remains committed to the ideal that we embrace criticism in whatever form and shape it comes but we shall not glorify lies and cheap propaganda at the expense of truth.
From the onset, let me state that the Party salutes the men and women, including youth, from all walks of life that participated in the NDF and made the resolutions that they did. The NDF was not a PF gathering. It was a sitting of the people, the Zambian people. In this regard, let me announce that the Party shall appear before the Parliamentary Committee to give its official position as adopted by the Central Committee.
PF POSITION ON RESPECTIVE RESOLUTIONS
The Resolutions on the proposed amendments are as follows;
1. The proposal to amend the Preamble by the deletion of the word “multi religious” and substitution therefore of the word “Christian” is not supported and by the same token the proposal contained in Article 4 of the Amendment Bill to include the word Christian in the description of the Republic is also not supported. The Preamble, Article 4(3) and Article 8 of the Constitution are to remain as they are. The Bill of Rights still protects the freedom to religion.
2. The proposal to change the electoral system for election of Members of Parliament under Article 47(2) by the inclusion of a mixed member proportional representational system to include marginalised groups such as the disabled and women is supported. This will foster greater inclusion and provide a platform for marginalised voices in our community to participate in Governance.
3. The proposal to amend the system on voting of the President to include the possibility of forming of a coalition government is not supported. In that regard Articles 101 and 102 are to remain as they appear in the current Constitution. The President should draw his or her mandate directly from the majority of the people.
4. The proposal to amend Article 103 and in particular to increase the time for the hearing of a Presidential Election Petition from 14 to 30 days is supported. This will afford the parties time to present their respective cases
5. The proposals to amend Articles 112 and include a new Article 117A so as to create the office of Deputy Minister is not supported. The PF Government is still committed to a lean Government.
6. The proposal to amend Article 116 by the inclusion of a new sub article 4 to entitle Ministers to continue holding office until a new Government is elected is supported. This will enable the Executive Government to continue performing its functions without any lacuna or disruption.
7. The proposal to repeal Articles 69, 70, 71 and 72 are supported and by variation, the Central Committee proposes that the period in which a civil servant is required to cease being a civil servant before seeking election to political office be reduced from 2 years to 6 months.
8. Local Government: The Patriotic Front believes in effective and efficient representation of the people through the councillors at a local level. The party is alive to fact that Councils are collectively run by Councillors who are responsible to the people in performance of their functions. We also cognisant of the critical role a mayor and council Chairperson must play in discharging the collective leadership of councils through councillors. The Party therefore supports the election of mayors and Council Chairpersons from among councilors as they will not only be answerable to people in a ward but also to body of councillors and MPs in the entire district who run the Council as whole
9. The proposal to amend Article 127 by the inclusion of the Chief Justice as a member of the Constitutional Court is supported and by this the Central Committee agrees that the two Courts should continue to exist as separate and independent Courts under the leadership of the Chief Justice.
Patriotic Front wishes to call out and shame those politically inclined and hired civil society voices and armchair critics parading themselves as activists and opinion leaders without any mandate from anyone whatsoever and who are earning a living from misrepresenting PF’s position with regard to the NDF resolutions to give the Zambian people a break. Enough of your lies, falsehoods and fake news.
We hope that your misrepresentations of the Patriotic Front regarding NDF resolutions comes ends after this Press briefing.
We look forward to appearing before the Parliamentary Committee and we shall ensure that our appearance is live on radio, television and online in order to avoid distortions and falsehoods regarding our stance as a Party. The principle is that PF will at all times remain on the side of the people as we have demonstrated on several occasions even in the case of KCM!
Let me emphasize that we owe our mandate to the Zambian people, from all the ten (10) Provinces, including those who never voted for us. We owe our mandate to govern to the miners, farmers, marketeers, barbershop owners, salon owners, domestic workers, youths from all walks of life, students, teachers, nurses, suppliers and contractors and civil servants, among others to whom we owe our mandate to govern. We always take time to listen to our people including those who have been continuously fed on deceit.
Let me thank His Excellency the President Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, for keeping his word that our constitutional reforms will be people-driven at all times. We will never leave the people behind in this endeavour!