How serious is the Justice Minister on the current Constitution Making Process in Zambia
Many Zambians are anxiously waiting to see the Final Draft of the Constitution in the current Constitution Making Process. It is hoped against hope that this end product will truly reflect the people’s aspirations as submitted in various consultative meetings throughout the Country. A consortium of Civil Societies have actually drawn the basic minimum principles (http://thezambiavoice.org/2013/06/13/basic-principles-to-be-part-of-the-new-constitution/) which should be contained in the Final document for it to qualify as a people’s Constitution. They have also insisted that this Final draft should be adopted through a Referendum.
Technical Committee Chairperson Justice Annel Silungwe promised the Zambian people that his committee would not fail but ensure the best and acceptable document was finalised. Justice Silungwe said the Zambian Constitution would surpass the Kenyan Constitution of 2010 which was currently considered the most modern Constitution after the Namibian and South African Constitutions considered to be good. “The final document would be a step higher than the Kenyan Constitution of 2010 which is currently regarded as a modern document in Africa. “The technical committee is doing its best to give the best constitution that Zambians could ever expect,” Justice Silungwe said. He was convinced that the technical committee would achieve what the people of Zambia expected it to do.
The Final Draft was supposed to be handed over to the President on the 30th June 2013. However the Technical Committee Drafting the Country’s Constitution has said that experts drafting the final document will need 30 days more to complete the drafting exercise.
Spokesperson of the Technical committee Ernest Mwansa noted that forcing the team drafting the constitution to stick to the June 30th deadline as earlier indicated may undermine the outcome of the entire exercise.
Mr. Mwansa has also disclosed that the technical committee has already finished going through all resolutions from the national convention and that the draft persons have also started the actual drafting of the constitution.
But Govt on the other hand refused to grant the TC another extension. Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba told Parliament on Friday 28th June 2013, that he expected the TC to submit the Document on Sunday 30th June without fail.
But yesterday, the Justice Minister U-turned on his position and said that, the TC will submit the Final draft in few days time. While a consortium of Civil Societies were of a view that a reasonable extension to grantee quality on the Final Draft would be acceptable, the oscillating position the Minister of Justice must be checked. The nation now is thrown in obscurity on the day of submission of this document. What does the Minister mean when he talks of “Few days”.
WHERE ARE WE COMING FROM ON THE CONSTITUTION
•1972-1973: New constitution makes Zambia single party state chaired by Mainza Chona
•1990-1991: constitution returns Zambia to multi-party politics chaired by Prof Mvunga
•1994-1996: parentage clause introduced; first President Kenneth Kaunda barred from race as his parents were born in Malawi chaired by John Mwanakatwe
•2002-2005: Lawyer Willa Mung’omba presents comprehensive darft constitution after another review he chaired
•2011-2013: President Michael Sata names a technical committee to complete a draft by June 2013.
•2013: The current team led by Judge Annel Silungwe has already spent K100million on its country-wide work
•2013: Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba says no extension by the TC beyond 30th June 2013.
•2013: John Sangwa SC says any constitution that Zambia shall eventually adopt shall not be cast in stone. It can be revisited in future and amended to suit the prevailing times and conditions of the nation.
DOCUMENTS ON THE CONSTITUTION
- Are we Going to Have the Draft Constitution Today? (thezambiavoice.org)
- Wynter freezes draft team (daily-mail.co.zm)
- Zambians eager for new Constitution (times.co.zm)
- Kabimba refuses to extend mandate for committee on draft constitution (postzambia.com)