PRESIDENT Lungu has signed the Constitutional Bill into law and declared that he has no qualms about reducing presidential powers because it is not about him, but Zambians.
With the signing done, this year’s presidential and general elections would be held on August 11, as stipulated in the new Constitution.
Mr Lungu said reduction of presidential powers achieves the aim of ensuring that power is commonly distributed by subjecting leadership to legal restraint that replaces the rule of men, with the rule of law.
President Lungu was speaking when he signed into law the Constitution Bill number 17 of 2015, marking the dawn of a new constitutional order in Zambia.
President Lungu said in signing the amended constitution to include clauses desired by Zambians, he has ‘walked the talk’ as promised during his inauguration as 6th Republican President on January 25, 2015.
The head of State, who called on Zambians to take time to read the new Constitution, said that the supreme law of the land must help usher in a new breed of politics, where politicians ought to deliver their promises.
“Signing of the bill marks a landmark achievement for Zambia in the country’s quest to develop its democratic credentials, and marks a new era in the governance of the country,” he said.
President Lungu also said that his earnest prayer is that the amendment to the constitution will serve as an instrument of national unity and social cohesion as its contents are a true reflection of the aspirations of a wider section of society.
He, however, cautioned that there will be issues which will emerge as some of the provisions of the amended constitution are implemented.
He also assured that the Patriotic Front government will always ensure that all processes that are relative to the constitution are totally above board and are unquestionably transparent.
On the holding of a referendum, President Lungu said that this will be done to take care of issues such as the Bill of Rights, when resources are made available, noting that the PF Government wants to uphold people’s aspirations in the entire constitution-making process.
Meanwhile, President Lungu said in seven months’ time, Zambia will be heading to the polls to elect political leaders who will steer the country to further prosperity.
“As we proceed towards elections on August 11, 2016, I implore all citizens and political players to abide by civil means of engagement with one another,” he said
Mr Lungu said there is therefore need for maximum restraint from acts of violence during campaigns in order to ensure free and fair elections.
He called on all Zambians to continue to embrace the spirit of national unity, adding that Zambia is a nation of tolerance which abhors extremism in all its forms.
“We are a nation of peaceful co-existence which celebrates diversity of opinion across various facets of life,” he said.
President Lungu also said Zambia is a nation of democracy which celebrates choice as a virtue and not a point pf enmity; and is also a nation of harmony, united in peaceful commerce.
He said over the years, Zambia has demonstrated that it is a winning nation in a collective belief that a free society is a sum total of the different interest groups, both state and non-state.
Mr Lungu said differences and hiccups will occur but must not be taken advantage of by enemies of a free society.
“It has taken us many years to make this progress, with failed or stalled processes of the past haunting us, so today provides a momentous occasion for us as a nation. We are grateful to the Almighty God for taking us thus far with this progress,” President Lungu said.
He also thanked the people of Zambia for the constitutional achievements, saying it would not have been possible without their contributions.
Zambia Daily Mail