Discussion on mode of Constitution adoption thrown out

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—The Technical Committee on Drafting the  Zambia Constitution has reiterated that it’s not within its mandate to discuss the mode of adopting the new Zambian Constitution which will be formulated after all consultative processes are completed.

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Technical Committee on Drafting the Zambian Constitution Chairperson, Annel Silungwe said the Committee’s Terms of Reference was very clear on the matter.

Justice Silungwe said the Technical Committee has Terms of Reference given by the Republican President, Michael Sata to draft the constitution and not to determine the mode of adoption of the document.

He said the committee will not go beyond its Terms of Reference given by the appointing authority but advised delegates to remember that the mode of adoption is addressed in the guidelines.

The Chairperson explained that the work of the Technical Committee will come to an end once the Final Draft Constitution is drafted and presented to the Republication President.

Justice Silungwe was reacting to attempts by a delegate representing the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) Muhabi Lungu who wanted the House to add the mode of adopting the document on its agenda before splitting into Thematic Working Groups.

Another attempt to support the call to discuss the mode of adopting the constitution by Charles Kafumbo of the Zambia Direct Democracy Movement (ZDDM) was curtailed by Get Involved Zambia (GIZ) Executive Director, Father Frank Bwalya who raised a point of order to question whether it was orderly to repeat what the previous speaker had already raised.

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The House was almost diverted into discussing the legality of the Convention after the Solwezi West MMD Member of Parliament, Humphrey Mwanza raised to ask but both National Revolution Party President, Dr Cosmo Mumba and the National Youth Chairperson for the opposition Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) Antonio Mwanza defended the legality of the convention before Deputy Chairperson of the Technical Committee, Dr Julius Sakala responded to clarify the matter.

All this happened before the guidelines on the conduct of the delegates during the Convention were read to the House.

Meanwhile, a delegate from Western province has asked the Technical Committee to allow him present to the House the message from the Province about the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.

The issue attracted debate even before the Committee Chairperson responded to his request which led to the matter left unresolved as the House went for a lunch break.

But when the House reconvened, Convention Facilitator Muyunda Mwanalushi told the House that the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 and the mode of adoption will be considered in the Thematic Working Groups.

By Press time, the House was also expected to elect the Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson to preside over the deliberations of the Convention before the close of the day’s business.

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