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OVERHAUL CONSTITUTION, SANGWA DEMANDS

OVERHAUL CONSTITUTION, SANGWA DEMANDS

…Programmes will not be achieved with flawed laws

By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA

THE entire Republican Constitution should be overhauled immediately if the UPND Alliance Government has to achieve its ambitious plans, says Constitutional Lawyer and State Counsel John Sangwa.

Mr Sangwa said President Hakainde Hichilema cannot achieve all the ambitious programmes he has in a flawed constitutional framework.

He said the new administration is better placed to carry out the process of overhauling the Constitution because it enjoys more support than any other before.

Mr Sangwa said in an exclusive interview that the revision of the Constitution should start now and a referendum held by July next year.

“You can’t just address the economy without addressing the legal framework within which the economy will perform. The President talked about a lot of things in his speech, and those things cannot be undertaken in a vacuum. 

“You need to provide a constitutional foundation, or frame work in which he can pursue those ambitious plans for the nation,” he said.

He warned that the content of the new Constitution should not be a decision of one person but should be discussed as a people and agreed on.

Mr Sangwa said some of the areas of the Constitution that need revisiting is the Judiciary.

“For example, the Constitutional Court, given the five years the court has been in existence, it has proven to be a bad experiment which we need to revisit but in doing so, we are not just targeting at one court. We have to overhaul the entire judiciary in the Constitution,” he said.

He also said that the weird situation where matters to do with the Bill of Rights go to the High Court and on appeal to the Supreme Court,  whereas all other matters to do with the Constitution are addressed by the Constitutional Court has to be addressed.

Mr Sangwa said that the Bill of Rights needs to be incorporated in the Constitution.

He said that there was also need to address the executive and legislative branches of Government.

“For example, should we still have ministers appointed from amongst  Members of Parliament or the President should be allowed to appoint ministers from outside Parliament so that there is a clear line or  distinction between the National Assembly and the Executive,” he pointed out.

Mr Sangwa said now was an historical opportune time to embark on the process of revisiting the Constitution because there is increased interest in governance issues.

“By July next year, we should have another referendum asking the people to vote in favour or against the Constitution. It has to be done by next year. If there is a delay, people lose interest. 

“If you start it in an election year, people will think it will be manipulated. So the new Government’s mandate started on Tuesday, and before August next year, we should be able to finish this exercise,” Mr Sangwa said.

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