National Constitution Convention closes without Basotse resolve

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——The motion in which delegates at the on-going National Constitution convention were supposed to vote in order to decide whether to amend the preamble of the First Draft Constitution by including a paragraph that recognizes the Barotse
Agreement of 1964 has been withdrawn.

The decision to withdraw the motion is meant to allow the executive of the republic of Zambia and the Barotse people through their representative resolve the matter amicably outside the constitution convention.

Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Amusa Mwanamwambwa, moved the motion to withdraw the Barotse Agreement from decided through ballots.

Mr Mwanamwambwa, who is representing the office of the Former Speaker at the convention, noted that the Barotse Agreement of 1964 was a sensitive matter that required the two parties – Government and the Barotse people – to dialogue and resolve the matter and not the convention.

In a solemn voice and while all the voting facilities were readily placed in front, the former speaker of the National Assembly appealed to the house to allow two parties to resolve the matter but with speed.

The former speakers’ proposal was seconded by a delegate, Sunday Chanda, who also noted that the former speaker had acted with wisdom to propose the withdrawal of the motion for the sake of the country’s unity.

After the motion was seconded, the chairperson of the convention, Muyunda Mwanalushi, called for an acclamation vote to see if delegates were in support of the proposal and the whole house unanimously accepted.

Earlier on Sunday, when the motion of the Barotse Agreement came up for debate in the House, Former Vice President, Godfrey Miyanda, appealed to the convention to allow the matter be resolved by the two parties away from the convention but his appeal was rejected.

After the Barotse Agreement motion was withdrawn, bright faces were seen in the House as some people did not know what was going to come out of the election which made the usually noisy House of Delegates from across the country solemn.

Meanwhile, the convention voted to retain the death sentence which is in clause (3) of Article 28 of the First Draft Constitution while in another case, they voted to adopt amendments to paragraph (e) of clause (2) of Article 153, clause (2) of the FDC to raise the minimum academic qualification of a person to qualify to be a candidate for election as speaker of the National Assembly from grade 12 to First University Degree or its equivalent.

While on the qualifications and disqualification for nomination for election of the Presidential candidates, the national convention adopted through voting the thematic group’s recommended that paragraph (1) of the FDC be amended to include a limitation to 75 years on the age for a person to qualify to be nominated as candidate for election
as president.

This means that Presidential candidates should not be above 75 years of age to contest election for presidency.

On Sunday, the convention debated at length on all the four contentious clauses and conducted an acclamation vote on each clause but failed to come up with the resolution leaving the chairperson, Prof Mwanalushi, with only one option of calling for a secret ballot
which was deferred to yesterday after consideration of all resolutions from thematic working groups.

On the same day, Sunday, the convention resolved to add a new paragraph to the preamble of the First Draft Constitution to recognize Freedom Fighters for their vital role in the liberation of the country from colonial masters.

And the convention which started sitting on Wednesday, April 10, 2013
  officially closed yesterday after concluding all its business.