Amended Constitution is a mess, says JCTR

THE Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection says the amended Constitution is a mess and is causing more havoc than ever before.

Speaking during a media and civil society organisations training workshop on the Constitution, JCTR faith and justice programme officer Poniso Kawanga said those in power had mutilated and manipulated the Constitution to suit their interests.

He said leaders had trampled upon the Constitution and rendered it “unholy”.

“In Africa, Zambia in particular, our leaders have trampled upon the Constitution, set it aside therefore rendering it unholy. They have abused and mutilated the Constitution itself  and manipulated the process and it can, therefore, not be treated as a holy document. Once it is mutilated, it means we have disregarded the tenets of democracy. As JCTR, our stance is a people-driven constitution, which can only be guaranteed if the people themselves participate through a legitimate process called a referendum,” Kawanga said.

He said government’s rejection of a clause for the President to appoint ministers from outside Parliament had caused the mess of ministers remaining in office after the dissolution of Parliament.

Kawanga said if leaders were morally upright, they should not have allowed ministers to continue in office.

“Upright and morally upright leaders respect the constitution and say ministers should not be allowed after dissolution of Parliament. People of Zambia have never called for amendments as they want a people-driven constitution and this is the mess we are experiencing now because of amendments. If people had listened to the voices of others, we would not have landed ourselves in the problems we have today. The debate on ministers remaining in office after the dissolution of Parliament borders on amendments. We have always called for a constitution through a referendum,” he said.

Kawanga said Zambia would have had a good constitution had its formulation process not been trampled upon by those in government, adding that the current Constitution had caused more harm than good.

Operation Young Vote executive director Guess Nyirenda said it was illegal for ministers to remain in power.

He said ministers would have to account for their illegal stay in office.

“Zambians are not dull. Those ministers are illegally in office because the basis upon which they were appointed is not there. Parliament was dissolved and that’s it,” said Nyirenda.

 

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