Monthly Archives: June 2013

Are we Going to Have the Draft Constitution Today?

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Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba has insisted that we should have the Final Draft of the Constitution by 10:00hrs today. Will this happen? Can the Technical Committee (TC) defy govt on this since they have insisted that they have not finished compiling the Document? In what form will this document be if it is not finished? How will this document be handled by Govt? How will the people of Zambia know the content of this documents if it is only handed over to Govt? Will it be shelved like many other Commission of Inquiry reports? So many questions arises on this Constitution making process.

The CSOs have insisted that, they want a qualitable Constitution adopted through a Referendum. This includes giving the TC enough time to finish compiling the final draft so that it is not handed to Govt in piecemeal. The stance by Govt is highly suspicious and we must be on guard. It is true that we have waited for so long and money has been wasted, but surely why not wait just another 30 days so that the TC does not have an excuse of have been curtailed to include all what people submitted.

Lets wait and see what will happen by the end of the day. 

 

Why Mutembo should not be DPP

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Zambian Voice says Mutembo Nchito’s “pompousness and arrogance” is unfortunate and a regrettable act coming from a senior legal practitioner.

Zambian Voice Executive Director Chilufya Tayali told Zed Chronicle that it is unfortunate that Mr. Nchito who is also the Director of Public prosecutions could say he is above the law or any disciplinary body in the country.

Mr. Tayali said the “pompousness” of Mr. Nchito is though not shocking to the nation because it is common knowledge that he (Nchito) has been exhibiting such acts even before he was appointed as Director of Public Prosecution by President Michael Sata.

In reference to a letter from Mr. Nchito to the Law Association of Zambia stating that he cannot appear before any disciplinary committee because he is now above that level, Mr. Tayali said Mr. Nchito was not being summoned to LAZ as DPP but in his capacity as a lawyer and concerning his alleged lying to a Parliamentary Committee when he was being interviewed prior to his appointment as DPP.

“Mutembo should know that he was a lawyer before he became DPP. And what LAZ and the Zambian people are interested in knowing is if truly he did not or he did lie when getting his job as DPP and nothing else. So, saying that he is above the law is totally unwarranted of him.” Mr. Tayali said.

He noted that it is unfortunate that Mr. Nchito as a custodian of the law would consider himself above the body that he subscribes to and therefore making himself above the law.

Solwezi Central Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) Member of Parliament Lucky Mulusa had reported Mr. Nchito to LAZ for allegedly professional misconduct.

Mr. Nchito was summoned to appear before a panel of veteran Lawyers for him to exculpate himself but snubbed the summons without any notice or word.

Mr. Tayali further noted that Mr. Nchito is not fit to be DPP because of his “unstable Character”.

RT: http://zedchronicle.com/?p=17183

Read what George Kunda said about Mutembo Nchito –  http://thezambiavoice.org/publications/

HRC Admits Inmates Died in Mukobeko

Mukobeko Prison

Human Rights Commission director Florence Chibwesha admitted for the first time, that inmates died at Mukobeko Maximum Prison in Kabwe, contrary to their earlier report http://www.hrc.org.zm/news/hrc_investigates_deaths_at_mukobeko_100091.php. This happened at Radisson Blue Hotel where the HRC are held a Human Rights Monitoring Symposium. The Rights Human Commission was challenged by The Zambian Voice Director Chilufya Tayali that there is evidence that inmates actually died in Mukobeko when security forces teargas-ed the cells and beat up inmates.  

This development makes us wonder whose interest the HRC is serving. We expected HRC to have condemned the brutal murder of inmates but they covered it instead. When such institutions fail people. the citizens need to come out and speak against vices. Where are the family members of the victims? Why are they not talking? Human dignity must be respected at all cost including prisoners.

Thinking Black Friday

HAVE YOUR SAY ON BLACK FRIDAY AGAINST SUBSIDIES!

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BASIC PRINCIPLES TO BE PART OF THE NEW CONSTITUTION

???????????????????????????????For the Constitution to meet the aspirations of the people of Zambia, the following basic principles listed below must be included:

1. Enjoyment of fundamental rights

Specifically, the Constitution shall provide for the respect, protection and fulfillment of the following rights:

a)      Economic, social and cultural rights which shall be interpreted broadly

b)      Civil and political rights as provided and protected by international human rights norms and standards.

For example:

  • Action to address imbalances, such as rights or special provisions for the women,children, youths, elderly, disabled, disadvantaged
  • Accessto information so that there can be open and accountable administration at all levels of government.
  • Recognition of diversity of language and culture shall be acknowledged and protected, and conditions for their promotion shall be encouraged.
  • Right to assembly and right to join any society including linguistic, cultural and religious associations, shall, on the basis of non-discrimination and free association, be recognized and protected.
  • The right of employers and employees to join and form labour unions and right to fair labour practices.
  1.  Status of the constitution and Amendments to Constitution

Given that that the constitution is the supreme law of the land, alterations and/or amendments to the Constitution shall require special procedures involving special majorities, for example referendum for the bill of rights and 2/3 or 50% plus 1 for other provisions.

  1. Equality before the law and Rule of Law

The legal system shall ensure the equality of all before the law and an equitable legal process. Equality before the law includes laws, programmes or activities that have as their object the improvement of the conditions of the disadvantaged, including those disadvantaged on the grounds of race, religion or gender.

  1. Separation of powers

There shall be a separation of powers between the legislature, executive and judiciary, with appropriate duties and checks and balances to ensure accountability, responsiveness and openness.

Accordingly;

a)      The Vice president shall be a running mate observing the equality clause from preamble

b)      Cabinet ministers shall be appointed from outside the national assembly

c)      Judges and magistrates shall be appointed and removed by an independent body

d)     There shall be a constitutional court which shall be a special court with exclusive jurisdiction in constitutional matters and is supreme in interpreting and enforcing the bill of rights 

  1. Representation of the people

There shall be a representative government embracing multi-party democracy, regular elections, universal adult suffrage, and a common voters’ roll.

The electoral systems shall be as follows:

a)      The President shall be elected by a 50% + 1 electoral system or majoritarian system of election

b)      For the parliamentary and local government elections; (mixed member proportion (MMP)) representation that will guarantee the following

  • Guaranteed representation of women, youths and persons with disabilities
  • Responsiveness to the constituency or electorate

c)      The elections date shall be enshrined in the Constitution provided that such elections shall be held as general or tripartite elections

  1. Traditional Leaders and Customs

The role, institution, status of traditional leadership shall be recognized and protected in the Constitution. Indigenous law shall be recognized and applied by the courts, as long as it does not go against fundamental rights contained in the Constitution

  1. Structure of Government (decentralization and devolving of power)

There shall be decentralization and devolution of government power at national, provincial and local levels.

Provided that;

a)      At each level of government there shall be democratic representation;

b)      The national government shall not exercise its powers (exclusive or concurrent) so as to encroach upon the geographical, functional or institutional integrity of the provinces;

c)      A framework for local government powers, functions and structures shall be set out in the Constitution. The comprehensive powers, functions and other features of local government shall be set out in parliamentary statutes or in provincial legislation or in both;

d)     The national government and provincial governments shall have fiscal powers and functions which will be defined in the Constitution;

e)      Each level of government shall have a constitutional right to an equitable share of revenue collected nationally so as to ensure that provinces and local governments are able to provide basic services and execute the functions allocated to them. Accordingly, provisions shall be made pertaining to issues to do with equitable sharing of proceeds realized from natural resources in provinces and communities

  1. Public Bodies, authorities and Commissions

The establishment, independence and impartiality of Constitutional offices, authorities and Commissions shall be provided for and safeguarded by the Constitution and shall be accountable to Parliament.

  1. Land protection

 The constitution shall protect Zambian land ensuring that land usage is audited and properly accounted for.( to be accurately inserted by LAZ)

  1. 10.  Adoption and Enactment Process

 1)      Immediately enact a law to protect both the contents and the process of the Constitution. The law to be enacted should clearly spell out the roadmap of the constitution making process. Part of the issues to be addressed in the roadmap should include the timeline, budget and way forward after enacting the new constitution. In short, the piece of legislation should clearly address issues pertaining to Zambia’s constitution review programme.

2)      The new Constitution shall be adopted through a national referendum as provided for in the Referendum Act, Chapter 14 of the Laws of Zambia. This will allow for the national consensus and give legitimacy to the new legal document. The said referendum should be held not more than 12 months after the report has been handed over to the President and Zambian citizens. In this regard therefore;

a)      Government needs to appoint commissioners to the Referendum Commission which is a permanent body as established by the aforementioned Act of Parliament

b)      Set the date for the Referendum and accordingly budget for it in the 2014 national budget

c)      Alternatively, Government to explore the possibility of amending the Referendum Act in the next sitting of the National Assembly to ensure that the role to organize and hold the national referendum is vested in the Electoral Commission of Zambia

d)     Ensure that the referendum is held to decide only on 1 question regarding the whole Constitution and NOT parts of the Constitution

e)      For the enactment of the Constitution;

i) Presentation of the adopted Constitution Bill to the National Assembly

ii) Enactment of the adopted Constitution Bill by the National Assembly without ANY alterations or changes

Observations- Zambian Issues

36632_3077788185958_1030099103_nThe issue of subsidy has continued hitting the airwaves especially from the opposition who want to take advantage of it to woo supporters by promising them that they would bring back subsidies without much elaboration.

Our research on the subsidies has not taken off yet due to funding. We are courting ZGF, as a Joint proposal with three other organisations, to fund it but you know the processes of accessing these funds, can take time in some cases.

I am very interested in stimulating a serious debate on the issue of Government spending on Roads and Railways. I have found the reports quite interesting to bring to the people for debate.

There seem to be some serious corruption going on in the procurement of Fuel and I would like to dig deep in the contracts and payments of crude oil by the Government. Surely something does not look right. This might explain the holding on of Government to Indeni. Other than keeping the 600 workers at Indeni, it seems to me, some government officials benefit a great deal from monopolised fuel imports.

My other source of worry is on our Judiciary which seem to have been wrecked by the Executive and the curtail. This situation is rendering the fight against Corruption, Human rights and bad governance almost in futility.

I am also concerned with the growing poverty levels in rural areas in spite of the economic growth Zambia, as a Country, is gaining. I wish we could do some serious research on this to find out why and see possible solutions to reduce the gap of the poor and the rich, especially when you talk about rural poverty.

Amidst all this, we don’t seem to have political parties with credible people and manifesto to inspire the Zambian citizens, which makes me think, that the CSOs have a lot of work, to engage in some policy analysis and review in many areas. Unfortunately Zambian CSOs at the moment are faced with many challenges, therefore, as a Christian; I can only implore God’s interventions while we do our bit.

Thanks for your support and God bless,

CHILUFYA TAYALI

Executive Director

The Zambian Voice

Expert Opion on Human Rights abuse in Prisons

The prisoners remain the most oppressed human beings in Zambia!

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