LAZ in support of Technical Committee on Draft Constitution

The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) says there is no reason why the final report on the constitution and the final draft constitution cannot be released to the public immediately in the interests of transparency and accountability to the Zambian people.

LAZ president James Banda in a statement obtained by QFM news says the association is concerned that a simple matter of printing and distributing the final draft constitution to the people of Zambia has suddenly become a complicated and contentious venture.

Mr Banda recalls that the first draft constitution was presented to the President and the public at the same time,wondering why this should not be the case with the final draft constitution.

He says proceeding in this manner helps to remove any suspicion and will help the government to continue building consensus around the process.

Mr Banda states that LAZ supports the decision by the technical committee drafting the constitution to insist that the release of the draft constitution be done simultaneously to the government and the Public.

He adds that the decision of the Technical committee is in keeping with the expectations of the Zambian public who have long awaited a constitution encapsulates and protects their wishes and aspirations.

The LAZ president notes that the history of constitution making in Zambia makes sad reading as it is filled with manipulation of the wishes of the Zambian people and ultimately disappointment.

Mr Banda says there is need to preserve and protect the will of the Zambian people who have been yearning for a people driven constitution for a long time at all costs.

The Ministry of Justice has directed the technical committee drafting the constitution to print only ten copies of the final draft constitution for the executive.

And Caritas Zambia has expressed shock that the Technical Committee on Drafting the Constitution is being asked by the Executive to print only ten (10) copies of the Draft Constitution.

In a statement to Qfm News,Caritas Zambia Executive Director Sam Mulafulafu says this is in absolute defiance of both the Terms of Reference that required the Committee to make full public disclosure of the outcomes of the constitution making process and of popular demand and expectation to have copies of the draft Constitution released simultaneously to the public as well as the Executive.

Mr. Mulafulafu says Caritas supports the position taken by the Technical Committee to refuse to sign the Draft Constitution and the Report if the Executive maintains this unreasonable position.

He says the move is a display of integrity on the part of the Committee and their accountability to the people of Zambia to whom they continuously made the promise that they will simultaneously release the Draft Constitution to the Executive and the general public.

Mr Mulafulafu stresses that Caritas Zambia,pledge to stand with the technical committee on this position and has urged the Committee not to relent.

He adds that the position taken by the Executive to deny Zambians first hand access to the draft Constitution is not acceptable and is provocative in a country which has invested so much and waited so long for a credible people driven constitution.