STATEMENT ON THE WINDING UP OF THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE ON DRAFTING THE NEW ZAMBIAN CONSTITUTION ISSUED BY THE GRAND COALITION,
2ND APRIL 2014, Lusaka, Zambia.
The Grand Coalition on A People Driven Constitution would like to commend the Technical Committee on Drafting the new Zambian Constitution for handing over the document to the Ministry of Justice.
We note however, that the simultaneous hand-over to the public and the President has not been made yet, contrary to their Terms of Reference which requires them to be accountable to the people of Zambia.
The partial hand-over brings to finality the constitution drafting process and also the continued expense of taxpayers’ money on the operations of the Committee.
We trust that the handing over of the document to the Ministry of Justice terminates the back and forth accusations of who was delaying the release of the final Draft Constitution which government largely blamed on the Committee.
Surprisingly, we do not understand the terms that prompted the permanent secretary to receive the Draft Constitution and other documents which were earlier rejected by the Minister, Hon. Wynter Kabimba when the Committee attempted to submit the documents arguing that he was not the appointing authority. We wonder now whether the PS in the Ministry of Justice has become the appointing authority.
With all due respect, the Grand Coalition is dismayed at the trivialization of the document by the government as it is the first time such an important document has been handed over to a permanent secretary in a ministry instead of the appointing authority, as per Terms of Reference. We note with interest the several tribunals and commissions of enquiries that have moved at great speed and handed their reports directly to the President at well planned hand-over ceremonies. We feel cheated as a people and assembly of several multitudes of stakeholders to observe the comedy that has characterized the handover of the draft constitution. We feel that the constitution deserves better, so are the Zambian people. This clearly shows how unimportant the constitution is to the PF government.
The use of dark channels of handovers of the documents leaves much to be desired and exposes the entire process to further speculations and innuendos.
It is the Coalition’s considered view that government will quickly release the document to the owners of the document-we the people of Zambia now that it is in its custody.
We also wish to further state that we still expect the government to release to us the final report of the Technical Committee, which is also part of the documentation that should have been submitted simultaneously to the President and the public.
Further, Government should draw up a clear road map of the next steps in the constitution review process since the long awaited documents have been handed over to the executive.
The Coalition urges all citizens to demand for the immediate release of this document without any further delay. The Grand Coalition will not rest until the second Draft Constitution and Final Report of the Technical Committee are finally given to the Zambian citizens.