The new Constitution must be subjected to a referendum – CSCC)

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THE Civil Society Constitution Coalition (CSCC) has urged government to define a road map beyond the final draft constitution and establish mechanisms to prepare for a referendum.

The CSCC has also advised President Michael Sata to urgently reconstitute the Electoral Commission, which has already structures to host the referendum as opposed to appointing a new Referendum Commission.

According to a statement yesterday, the CSCC stated that Zambian people have made it clear that they need a people driven Constitution for development.

“The government should therefore deliver the people’s demands, and moving forward, the CSCC is resolved to demand for a clear road map of the constitution making process which will detail all the stages of the constitution making process the way the Technical committee’s guidelines are stipulated so that the nation can know what will happen and at which point after the presentation and publication of the final draft,” it stated.“While CSCC recognizes the PF government’s determination to give a good constitution to the people of Zambia it is demanding that the New Constitution be subjected to a referendum.”

It stated that the importance of subjecting the new constitution to a referendum cannot be over emphasized as it would entail wider acceptance and ownership of the new constitution by and for all Zambians.

“The CSCC is also cognizant of the fact that the current Bill of Rights has been expanded and this necessitates a referendum as stipulated in Article 79 of the current constitution,” it stated.

It observed that the current Referendum Act mentions the establishment of the Referendum Commission.

“The CSCC however feels there is no need to have an established structure since a referendum will not be held regularly like is the case for by-elections. An ad hoc committee instead should be appointed as soon as possible which will be in charge of the process so that the preparations can be initiated,” it stated. “Cardinally, it will be cost effective for the President to reconstitute the Electoral Commission which has already established structures and is undoubtedly capable of managing a referendum, as opposed to appointing a new referendum commission.”