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MORE LAWYERS DEMAND CONSTITUTION OVERHAUL

MORE LAWYERS DEMAND CONSTITUTION OVERHAUL

SEVERAL lawyers have backed demands by Constitutional lawyer John Sangwa that the Republican Constitution be overhauled immediately if the new Government has to achieve its ambitious plans.


The lawyers feel that the constitution in its current form was a menace to citizens and needed urgent amends to stand the test of time.
Lusaka Lawyer, Jonas Zimba, said a lot of provisions in the current constitution needed to be amended to put the content in the right perspective.


“Our constitution needs an overhaul, there are a lot of provisions that require amending and removal,” Mr Zimba said.


He said the constitution was a framework that determined the quality of other pieces of legislations.


“From the days of Bill 10, I hold the view that the Republican Constitution should be amended,” he said.


Mr Zimba said there were a lot of unprogressive articles that should be repealed.
He cited Article 52 which talks about calling for fresh nominations after resignation of a candidate in an election as one of the articles that needed amendment.


“One of the unprogressive articles is Article 52 which talks about calling for fresh nominations in an event that one of the candidates withdraws from the race, because it is very retrogressive,” Mr Zimba said.


Another Lusaka lawyer and State Counsel, Sakwiba Sikota, said President Hakainde Hichilema should set out a clear roadmap on constitutional reforms.


Mr Sikota said Mr Sangwa was right to suggest that the constitution should be amended as soon as possible.


“It’s true our constitution needs an overhaul because of the lacunas therein,” he said.
He said the constitutional reforms should be at least a two-step process where the Bill of Rights which was harder to amend was done later.


Mr Sikota said there was need for people to focus on what would be the best content that would stand the test of time.


He said drivers of the process should try their best to be as inclusive as possible in arriving at a true consensus.


Earlier, Mr Sangwa said President Hichilema cannot achieve all the ambitious programmes if the flawed constitution was not overhauled.


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.


Another lawyer, Mwenya Mukupa said there was need to have a defined process without personal objectives to come up with a Republican Constitution that would live for generations.


Mr Mukupa admitted that the 2016 amended Constitution had flaws, therefore the need to revisit it.
He however advised against rushing the revision without a defined process which can result in another shambolic document.


By PETER SICHALI and GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA

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