Stakeholders have continued to make submissions on the Bill to amend the Constitution of Zambia as the Parliamentary Committee scrutinizing the Bill turned away the Non-Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council (NGOCC)
Centre for Young Leaders in Africa (CYLA) led United Party for National Development (UPND) in Mumbwa Jones Malunga a and Green Party Secretary General Daniel Sichilongo were grilled by both UPND and Patriotic Front (PF) and members of parliament over their support for a provision providing for coalition government.
But Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) President Andrew Ntewewe has defended the proposal for the formation of coalition government by referring the Committee to another Report of Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights, Gender Matters and Child Affairs chaired by UPND Choma Central Member of Parliament, Mr. Cornelius Mweetwa in which stakeholders had proposed the formation of the coalition government and the mixed member representation system, among others.
Meanwhile, the Zambia National Students Union (ZANASU) rejected the provision to reintroduce deputy ministers on the basis Government has no money to pay for deputy minister. ZANASU President Misheck Kakonde wondered where the money would come from since Government has repeatedly indicated it had no money to pay meal allowances to students from public universities and extend education loan scheme to private universities.
The majority of stakeholders have made submissions have overwhelmingly supported the retention of the Christian Nation clause in the preamble by deletion of the words, “multi religious” and introduction the mixed member electoral proportional representation system.
Other provisions which have been supported include the increase in the number of days for hearing and determining the election petition from 14 days to 30 days, the existence of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts as two separate courts, the election of mayors from among councillors, deletion of too much detail such as commissions from the Constitution and readmission of members of parliament into councils.
There has, however, been mixed feelings over entrenchment of Christian values in the Constitution, proroguing of the National Assembly as opposed to dissolution.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Committee on Friday turned away NGOCC representatives who copied the submissions by TI Zambia, word for word. Reacting to the news, ZANASU Vice President, Steven Kanyakula, has advised civil society organisation leaders to end the collusion where institutions submit multiple but similar thoughts in different jackets.
Mr. Kanyakula observed that multiple submissions are a deception which has reduced the reform process to an activity of same stakeholders and elites as Parliament is not given an opportunity to hear from institutions that provide independent and original minds of their own.