New constitution possible before 2016 polls-FODEP

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The Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) has urged government to consider rescinding its decision of holding a referendum to enact a new constitution next year.


FODEP Executive Director Mcdonald Chipenzi said the decision by government will not benefit the Zambian people in 2016 describing it as a political gimmick.


Mr. Chipenzi told ZANIS in a telephone interview in Lusaka today that if government goes ahead to have a referendum next year together with the general election, the new constitution would be defective.


He said there was no need for government to enact a new constitution in 2016 because there was still ample time this year. 


He said it was important for government to understand the reason why people were demanding for a new constitution because it would enable them to fully participate in the governance of their country.


Mr. Chipenzi observed that the current constitution does not offer effective checks and balances for the civil society organization and political parties in terms of promoting good governance system in the country.


FODEP and other stakeholders in the country such as the grand coalition were opposed to government’s roadmap to enacting the important document and accused it of changing goal posts on the mode of adopting the new constitution.


Mr. Chipenzi was however optimistic that President Edgar Lungu would give Zambians a people driven constitution.  


Yesterday, Acting Chief Government Spokesperson Vincent Mwale said government has got no money to hold a referendum to enact the new piece of legislation.


Mr. Mwale, who was part of the cabinet meeting which was chaired by President 

Lungu yesterday, revealed that cabinet approved the introduction of a bill in parliament to amend section 3 (1) of the Referendum Act of 1967 in order to bring it into conformity with Article 79 (3) of the constitution of Zambia.


Mr. Mwale, who is also Youth and Sports Minister, however reiterated that government was committed to give Zambians a people driven constitution to stand the test of time through a referendum next year.