Students Unions in Zambia have called on Government to consider deferring the second reading of the Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill No. 10 of 2019 to allow the public to study the final report of the Parliamentary Committee which was considering the Bill.
Speaking on behalf of the Unions, Zambia National Students Union Vice President Steven Kanyakula said the students’ body has been interacting with members of parliament from both the opposition and ruling political parties who have indicated the Report has addressed concerns of concerns of both those have been against the Bill and those in favour of the Bill.
ZANASU calls on Government to postpone the enactment of the Bill to allow the public access to this Bill and to engage each other on the way forward.
“As we call for postponement of the tabling of this Bill, but not the withdrawal, we call on Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon Patrick Matibini to immediately publish the Report of the Committee which should be used for engagement among different sides who have a problem with the current Bill. The two sides must be allowed an opportunity to see whether the Report has taken views of everyone into account.”
The students have further counsel Civil Society Organisations who share conflicting views to show leadership and sit down and reconcile their positions before the Bill can be enacted.
Meanwhile, the students have charged that the US Ambassador to Zambia, Daniel Foote, overreacted on the sentencing of two persons convicted of homosexuality to 15 years in prison
“This country also has stiffer penalties for drug-related crimes and many are serving these sentences. What the Ambassador should have noted is that all sexual offences in Zambia, including rape and defilement carry the minimum sentence of 15 years under our laws and the practice of homosexuality should not be different unless we as Zambians decided to amend our laws,” said Mr Kanyakula.
The students have charged that 99 percent of Zambians are averse to the practice of homosexuality because of the strong family values, religious beliefs, cultural and traditional norms accepted by the Zambia society and the USA should respect the laws of Zambia just as Zambian citizens in the US must respect the laws of that country.
“We believe that just as Zambia has no right to impose its values or manner of doing things on the USA, the USA has no justification to do so. Zambia and the United States of America must continue to enjoy good relations based on mutual respect for each other’s values, rules and laws,” he charged.