Lusaka, 20 February 2015
Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf) believes that the enactment of a new people driven constitution in Zambia will contribute to the solution of a number of development challenges the country is currently facing.
We therefore reiterate our call for the finalization of the constitution making process before the 2016 elections, and that the new constitution must be adopted through a national referendum. In that regard, we remain committed to the work of the Grand Coalition on the Campaign for a People Driven Constitution in Zambia. We view the Grand Coalition as a neutral, people driven platform that represents the views, interests and aspirations of a cross section of the Zambian society. These include the civil society organisations, students’ movement, the church, youth, women’s movement, media organisations, and political parties
Following the constitutional challenges that this country faced following the passing on of former President Michael Sata, we are convinced more than ever before that a collective approach is need to ensure the enactment of a people-driven constitution. The Grand Coalition presents that platform where entities representing a cross section of the Zambian society come together in demanding for a people driven constitution.
We do not agree with those vouching for a patchwork approach to constitution making. The citizens of this country deserve an opportunity to contribute to the completion of this historic process. The current resource and time constraints should not be used as an excuse for denying the people of Zambia their right to pass or reject the new constitution through a referendum.
As a communication for development organization, PSAf will continue to use different communication methodologies to ensure that the poor and marginalised also have platforms to participate in governance processes. From our work across Southern Africa, we have seen that local citizens are always interested to participate in governance processes that affect them. A referendum is one such process designed to ensure that citizens take charge of defining the governance of the country. We believe it would be unfair and a violation of the rights of many for the government to deny citizens this opportunity.
We remain resolute in our demand for a new, people driven constitution. We remain a committed member of the Grand Coalition. We call on all well-meaning Zambians to support this demand for a new people driven constitution, and that the constitution must be adopted through a referendum. We believe a new, people driven constitution will bring better lives for all.
Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf)