Catholic Bishops call for immediately release the final draft constitution

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Catholic Bishops in Zambia have called on government to immediately release the final draft constitution to the people and not subject it to scrutiny by Cabinet.


In a statement read by Zambia Episcopal Conference President BISHOP IGNITIUS CHAMA, the clergymen says the Technical committee on Drafting the Republican constitution has done a good job and what is remaining is to release the document.


The statement had a wide range of issues and was read at a press briefing at KAPINGILA House in Lusaka after the Catholic Bishops took a break from their quarterly plenary meeting.


They say that subjecting the constitution to Cabinet is what has dented past constitution making processes where cabinet removed some contentious clauses.


The clergymen also added that the Inquiries Act must NOT be used in releasing the constitution because it will not allow the public to have a say on the final text of the constitution.


Meanwhile, Archbishop of Lusaka TELESPHORE MPUNDU has called for a clear roadmap for the constitution making process.


Archbishop MPUNDU says a clear roadmap will give confidence to the people to own the constitution.


He has also called on government to constitution a referendum commission so it can take over from the Technical Committee and complete the constitution making process.


On January 8 President MICHAEL SATA said the country will not be pushed into fast and reckless conclusions in the constitution making process by individuals with dubious agendas that have hijacked the process.


And on January 9, 2014 Chief Government Spokesperson MWANSA KAPEYA revealed that some named politicians have paid some civil society organisations to cause confusion in the current constitution making process.


Mr KAPEYA says government has trailed the exchange of money between some known politicians and civil society leaders who have agreed to frustrate government over the constitution making process.


But the Oasis Forum which is composed of the Law Association of Zambia, the Council of Churches in Zambia, Zambia Episcopal Conference, Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia and the Non-Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council has distanced itself from allegations of being funded by politicians to frustrate the constitution making process.