Financing Zambian referendum is tricky

Ambassador Eric T. Schultz
Ambassador Eric T. Schultz

US Ambassador to Zambia, ERIC SCHUTZ says it will be difficult for any donor to finance the holding of national referendum to adopt the new constitution in Zambia because of the period and cost involved.

Mr. SCHUTZ says holding a referendum is like holding another presidential election given the amount of money to be spent.

Answering questions from Copperbelt University – CBU students when he visited the American Corner Mr. SCHUTZ feels Government and Non Governmental Organisations can still dialogue to find the best way of adopting the new constitution.

Mr. SCHUTZ however says the donor community is waiting patiently to see how the country can come up with a people driven constitution which will stand the test of time.

The Grand Coalition on the Campaign for the People Driven Constitution has maintained that Zambia’s new constitution will only stand the test of time and command the respect of all citizens if it is adopted through a referendum.

And President EDGAR LUNGU has said that Government is NOT against the quick enactment of a new constitution but it is just being cautious in the process of doing so because of some implications involved such as costs for holding a referendum.

On Monday, Alliance for Better Zambia-ABZ- leader Father FRANK BWALYA noted that Zambia neither has enough resources nor time to accommodate a referendum in the ongoing constitution making process.

Father BWALYA says his assertion is based on the colossal sums of money for next year’s tripartite elections and a referendum coming closely after the January 2015 presidential election.

ABZ has since pulled out of the Grand Coalition on the Constitution.