SUBMISSION OF THE PATRIOTIC FRONT PARTY (PF) TO THE PARLIAMENTARY SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE CONSTITUTION OF ZAMBIA (AMENDMENT) BILL NO. 10 OF 2019
This is the submission of the Patriotic Front Party (PF) to the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution of Zambia
(Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019. The Party wishes to recommend the enactment of the proposed amendments to the Constitution of
Zambia as set out in the Bill, with variations, as set in our submissions hereunder.
1. Amendment No.2, 4 and 5
As Patriotic Front, however, we fully support Zambia’s declaration as a Christian nation, we are alive to the fact that Zambia is a multi-religious society. Therefore, we submit that the words “multi religious” be retained.
Further, the proposal contained in Article 4 of the Amendment Bill to include the word “Christian” in the description of the Republic must be removed. We therefore submit that the Preamble, Article 4(3) and Article 8 of the Constitution must remain as they are.
The Bill of Rights still guarantees freedom of worship and conscience.
2. Amendment No.9
As Patriotic Front Party, we support 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. This will foster greater inclusion and provide a platform for marginalized voices in our community to participate in Governance.
3. Amendment No.13
While we recognize the watchdog role that the legislature plays on the executive arm of government, we strongly believe that in a
democracy, the principal of separation of powers must be respected at all times.
The doctrine of separation of powers entails that a government is divided into three arms namely, the legislature, executive and the judiciary whose powers and responsibilities are separate and must not be conflicted.
It is therefore, our strong belief that giving the legislature authority to OVERSEE the performance of the executive functions is in fact against the fundamental principal of the doctrine of the separation of powers, which is a cornerstone of every democratic governance system.
According to the Collins dictionary, the word “oversee ‘means among other things supervise or control. The legislature has no mandate to control the executive, theirs is to provide checks and balances on the executive, and we wish to categorically state that offering “checks and balances” must not be confused with “overseeing” the functions of the government as these connote two different meanings.
We recommend therefore that the word, oversee, in article 63(2) be replaced with the words, “provide checks and balances”.
The new wording of this clause should therefore read as follows;
1. “63. (2) The National Assembly shall “provide checks and balances” in the performance of executive functions”
4. Amendment No. 30
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. It is our firm belief that the President should draw his or her mandate directly from the majority of the people. Furthermore, the coalition governments world over have proven to be often unstable and chaotic, hence posing a serious risk to national unity and security.
5. Amendment No. 30
As a Party we support 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 ample time to present their respective cases. Equally, this will afford the courts adequate time to deal with the matters.
6. Amendment No.34 and 38
The Patriotic Front party is committed to a lean Government. Therefore, we do not support the proposals to amend Articles 112 and include a new Article 117A to create the office of Deputy Minister.
7. Amendment No. 37
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.
8. Amendment No.43
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 Party agrees that the two Courts should continue to exist as separate and independent Courts under the leadership of the Chief Justice.
9. Amendment No.66
The Patriotic Front Party 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. Therefore, the proposal to repeal Articles 69, 70, 71 and 72 are supported and by variation is supported.
I therefore, submit that the Bill has captured most of the submissions, which were directly made by all stakeholders as provided in the National Dialogue Forum Bill, and we therefore, recommend the enactment of the proposed amendments to the Constitution of Zambia as set out in the Bill, with variations as submitted.