A consortium of Civil Society Organisations has welcomed the proposal by traditional leaders to establish and enshrine a Council of Paramount Chiefs in the Constitution of Zambia.
During a media briefing held at Mika Lodge on Sunday, the Constitution Reform and Education Coaltion (CRECO) Chairperson Hyde Haguta said any proposals to amend Bill 10 are not late and have encouraged the Litunga, Kalonga Gawa Undi, Nkosi yama Nkosi Mpezeni and Mwine Lubemba Chitimukulu Kanyata-Manga II to take steps by engaging MPs who can submit a notice to amend the Bill in line with Order 110 (1) of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly of Zambia.
Mr. Haguta has also called on Cabinet, through the Minister of Justice, to submit a notice of amendments before the Bill is read for the second time in line with the same Order 110(1) to show which amendments Government intends to bring at the Committee of the Whole House stage.
“By taking this route, Government would demonstrate to the public and instil confidence that indeed, Government is ready to take a lead in amending the Bill in accordance with recommendations from the Committee,” said Haguta.
CRECO has since called on Members of Parliament to give Bill 10 a chance to be thoroughly debated during the Second Reading and to allow amendments to be done after the second reading of the Bill.
“The main reason why the Constitution require two-thirds at Third Reading of a Bill to amend the Constitution is to allow Members of Parliament to scrutinise whether the amendments made during the Committee Stage reflects what is generally agreed,” said Haguta who is also MISA Zambia Vice Chairperson.
Meanwhile, CRECO has welcomed the move taken by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to consider its proposal to have citizens of Zambia who live in the Diaspora to vote in 2021 elections.
CRECO Spokesperson, Andrew Ntewewe, said the voting by any citizen is a constitutional right which must never be denied of all citizens.
“Equally, we support the implementation of the Constitutional Court decision to have prisoners vote in exercise of constitutional right to vote,” said Ntewewe
CRECO is comprises the Media Institute for Southern Africa – Zambia Chapter (MISA Zambia), Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Southern African Center for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD), Common Grounds Network (CGN) and Chrisma Democracy University.