THE bill of rights and contentious clauses in the draft constitution will be subjected to a referendum to be held simultaneously with the 2016 general elections, acting chief Government spokesperson Ngosa Simbyakula has announced.
Dr Simbyakula told journalists last night in a post-cabinet meeting briefing that Cabinet approved the recommendation to enact the new constitution in a phased manner by taking to parliament non-contentious clauses and subjecting contentious ones to a referendum.
Dr Simbyakula, who was flanked by President Lungu’s press aide Amos Chanda, said cabinet also approved the recommendation to appoint members of the electoral commission as members of the referendum commission to prepare for the referendum.
And Cabinet, which deliberated for two days, the longest session so far, also approved the recommendation by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to create six new constituencies.
Dr Simbyakula, who is Minister of Justice, said this is in order to cater for the six new districts whose boundaries, which cut across constituency borders resulting in such constituencies belonging to more than one district.
“The recommendations by ECZ followed consultations with all political parties under the ECZ political liaison committee and all political parties agreed to the creation of the six new constituencies,” Dr Simbyakula said.
Dr Simbyakula named the affected districts and constituencies as:
– Siavonga constituency belongs to both Siavonga district and the new district, Chirundu.
– Sinjembela constituency belongs to both Shangombo district and the new district, Sioma.
– Mansa Central constituency belongs to both Mansa district and the new district Chembe.
– Kaoma central constituency belongs to both Kaoma district and the new district, Nkeyema.
– Kapiri Mposhi constituency belongs to both Kapiri Mposhi district and the new district Ngabwe and
– Kapoche constituency belongs to Petauke district and the new district Sinda.
Dr Simbyakula said there will, however, be no elections in the six new constituencies until the general elections in 2016.
He said the measure is to enable the ECZ to register voters when they commence the voter registration exercise in August this year.
And Cabinet approved the negotiation parameters between Government and the trade unions following President Lungu’s announcement during the Labour Day celebrations.
Dr Simbyakula also announced that Cabinet approved the recommendation to amend the Customs and Excise (Ports of Entry) Order in order to extend the operating hours of Kasumbalesa, Chembe and Mukambo border posts from 12 hours to 24 hours.
“This measure is aimed at decongesting these borders and improve trade between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In line with this, Government shall ensure that necessary security measures are put in place for the safety of both the lives of people and the goods,” Dr Simbyakula said.
Cabinet discussed a total of 14 items which include transport management in the public service, which will see Government saving approximately K10 billion per year.
It also discussed financial intelligence centre amendment bill, money laundering and terrorism financing national risk assessment, the accountants amendment bill and the status of Rwandan refugees after the invocation of the ceased circumstances cessation clause.
Other issues were budget execution; statement of government operations 2015 fiscal year; Professional Secretaries Association of Zambia bill; introduction of electronic voucher; crop forecasting survey; and appointment of members of Class A of the Development Bank of Zambia board of directors.