Fri, 14 Oct 2016 15:03:51 +0000
PRESSURE is mounting for government to effect major constitutional amendments to avoid the constitutional lapses that almost plunged the country into crisis.
Young African Leaders Initiative governance director Isaac Mwanza says ways should be found to perfect the constitution while building a consensus to properly conduct a referendum on the Bill of the Rights. Mr Mwanza cited articles relating to the handover of power to the Speaker as a priority article in urgent need of amendment.
There was need to clearly state the circumstances under which the President should hand over power to the speaker, following a presidential election petition. Mr Mwanza said there was no perfect constitution anywhere in the world, and that the President must call on the Minister of Justice, Given Lubinda, to engage well-meaning Zambians and all stakeholders for a progressive constitution making process. And Patriotic Front (PF) deputy spokesperson Frank Bwalya said in an interview that there was urgent need to amend ambiguous clauses in the constitution to avoid misunderstandings.
Mr Bwalya pointed out that the confusion which erected after the filling of the UPND presidential election petition, calling for the republican President to hand over power to the speaker was as a result of the porous clause. He welcomed the call to amend the constitution so that it provided clear guidance on what steps to take on every stage of governance.
Mr Bwalya noted that the call to make amendments to the current constitution was long over due and that it was high time the law makers took a vivid step on the matter. “Calls to make amendments to the current constitution are inevitable to avoid constitutional crises. There was a lot of confusion on whether the President should handle over power to the speaker because of some ambiguous clause.
That must be avoid at all cost, hence the need to make amendments” Mr Mwanza commended President Lungu for admitting that the current Constitution exhibited inadequacies or loopholes that needed urgent attention by all citizens which if ignored would render Zambia ungovernable. He said it was about time President Edgar Lungu reopened the process of perfecting the Zambian Constitution by taking a lead in engaging citizens towards building consensus around the National Referendum on the Bill of Rights and Article 79 of the Constitution.
He said Mr Lubinda should treat this as a matter of urgency and find ways of building consensus to properly conduct a referendum on the Bill of the Rights and Article 79 of the Constitution following lessons learnt from the failed process in the August 11 Referendum. “President Lungu must, as a matter of urgency, direct his Minister of Justice to also find ways in which we can also build consensus and properly conduct a referendum on the Bill of the Rights and Article 79 of the Constitution as we believe the last referendum came with it lessons we all can learn from, “As YALI, we want to agree with President Lungu that it’s time we now reopened this process of trying to perfect our Constitution and the President must be seen to be taking a lead in engaging citizens to lead this process,” he said.