Opposition back State

Zambia draft Constitution

SOME opposition political parties say non-contentious and election-related clauses of the constitution should be amended before the 2016 general elections if Government does not have enough financial resources to carry out the exercise.

The parties says there is no need for a referendum if there are no resources but that parts that relate to the electoral process should be amended before the general elections to avoid suspicions.
Presidents of the People’s Party (PP), Christian Democratic Alliance (CDA), All People’s Congress (APC) and Green Party (GP) agree with Government’s view that non-contentious clauses can be amended without going through a referendum, which would be costly.
Mike Mulongoti of the PP said in an interview yesterday that some aspects that are not urgent can be considered after the general elections.
The former Cabinet minister also said clauses that do not require a referendum such as proportional representation or ‘first past the post’ can be amended.
“The constitution can be reformed by amending parts of the constitution that are of urgent nature. We should have the 2016 general elections under a new reformed constitution to avoid suspicions and quarrels,’’ he said.
CDA’s Danny Pule said the law makes it impossible to adopt the constitution through a referendum because it requires 50 percent of the registered voters to participate.
He said considering the previous voter turnout, a referendum would not be possible.
Nason Msoni of the APC said Government can amend some clauses because while some people are craving for a new constitution before the 2016 general elections, it is practically impossible.
And GP’s Peter Sinkamba also supports Government’s strategy to amend the current constitution to include non-contentious clauses such as the presidential running mate and the 50-percent-plus-one vote.
“We support the Minister of Justice Dr Ngosa Simbyakula’s ministerial statement in Parliament that if stakeholders are agreeable to the government proposal, then the first set of amendments could be taken to Parliament as early as June 2015,’’ he said.