The Young African Leaders Initiative has alleged that some civil society interest groups and persons such as Muna Ndulo and John Sangwa have been recruited on an attempt to undermine the refinement of the Constitution which would have allowed the alteration it to become consistent with the people’s aspiration, enhance democracy and meet international standards for a durable constitution that could stand the test of time.
Addressing a media briefing this morning in Kitwe at Crossroads Lodges, YALI President Andrew Ntewewe, said it was unacceptable for Mr Sangwa, while playing his politics, to call people elected to the office of the President who presided over a period when the Zambian people expressed intention to change the constitution as criminals.
“The question is how can a man who himself had been in court and accused of forgery and yet no one called him a criminal call Kenneth Kaunda, Fredrick Chiluba, Levy Mwanawasa, Rupiah Banda, Michael Chilufya Sata, and President Edgar Chagwa Lungu as criminals merely because these honourable men presided over the constitution reform processes? This is very saddening and not inspiring at all,” said Mr. Ntewewe
Mr. Ntewewe said contrary to what Professor Muna Ndulo and Bokelo Beyani had earlier proposed that all future reviews of the Constitution should be done by 7 people, the National Dialogue Forum was constituted by over 350 persons of various background who included respected constitutional lawyers and professional draftspersons whose daily duties are to draft the laws of Zambia.
The YALI boss cited 4 provisions which included entrenchment of Christianity and Respect for Other Religions, enhancement of Security of tenure for Judges as progressive while dispelling the propaganda that the Bill seeks to abolish the Financial Intelligence Centre which is a creature of an Act of Parliament and not the Constitution. He has since challenged the House of Chiefs, Drug Enforcement Commissions, Bank of Zambia and Electoral Commission of Zambia to explain to the Zambian public on how the progressive proposals they made found their way and were accepted by the National Dialogue Forum.
“The right to belong to any religion or faith-based organisations is not protected by the preamble of our constitution but is entrenched in Article 19 of the Bills of Rights. This article, like many other articles, were not altered at all. We want to reiterate that the Zambian Constitution, even with the proposed deletion of multi-religious and firm declaration that this country remains a Christian Nation, shall continue to recognise the rights of other persons to practice their faith or leave their religions to join other religions,” he said.
Meanwhile Mr. Ntewewe has defended the removal of provisions for the maximum number of MPs in the National Assembly is in tandem with best international practice that have seen Constitutions like that of the United States of America standing the test of time by avoiding amendments to the Constitution every time the number of constituencies are increased through delimitation.
“It is merely propaganda that the PF administration has been wanting to create more seats for itself in their stronghold. The amendment to the Zambian Constitution will allow room for growth without the need to be amending the Constitution all the time we want to increase the number of seats,” said Mr. Ntewewe.