STATEMENT BY DR. NEVERS SEKWILA MUMBA, PRESIDENT OF THE MMD DURING A PRESS BRIEFING AT THE MMD SECRETARIAT ON JULY 13, 2012
We have invited members of the press in order to address issues we deem extremely urgent and pray that through you our deep concerns and contributions could be communicated to the Zambian people.
POSITION OF THE MMD ON THE CONSTITUTION
The MMD has reviewed the draft constitution through our Ad hoc Committee chaired by Hon. Vernon J. Mwaanga, and the following are our submissions as a Party: –
(a) CITIZENSHIP CLAUSES ARTICLES 12, 13, 14, 15, 16,
17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23
These deal with citizenship issues and of the greatest interest is that of dual citizenship. It will be recalled that Zambians living in the diaspora have in the past made passionate appeals and advanced persuasive arguments as to why dual citizenship should be allowed in the Zambian Constitution. The advent of globalization and best practices make this necessary. This matter was extensively debated at the National Constitutional Conference by more than 500 delegates from all walks of life and it was overwhelmingly agreed that dual citizenship should be allowed.
The MMD strongly supports this position which is now being taken by many countries around the world.
(b) ELECTORAL SYSTEM AND PROCESS – PART VI:
This deals with 50% + 1 vote threshold for electing a President. The MMD is of the view that, although this proposal is cumbersome and expensive, it should now be accepted since it appears to be the one preferred by most of the stakeholders.
(c)ELECTION OF VICE PRESIDENT – ARTICLE 107
This article deals with election of the Vice President as a running mate to the President. The MMD accepts this proposal that the Vice President should be elected as a running mate to the President. The MMD recognizes that it would be hard to find good reasons for changing the current system of having the Vice President appointed by the President, just like Ministers. The consensus among a majority of stakeholders favours this proposal and that is why the MMD accepted it. The MMD is also of the view that the Vice President should continue to be Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly.
(d) INTRODUCTION OF THE POST PARLIAMENTARY
SECRETARY – ARTICLE 122
The MMD does not support this new post of Parliamentary Secretary. The MMD is of the view that the current system of having Deputy Ministers is suitable and should continue.
(e)COMPOSITION OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FROM MULTI-MEMBER CONSTITUENCIES – ARTICLE 136
The MMD does not support this proposed system. The MMD is therefore of the view that a mixed member system as agreed at the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) is preferable.
(f) PROCEDURE FOR THE REMOVAL OF JUDGES ARTICLES 187 and 188
These clauses are consistent with the procedure agreed at the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) for the removal of Judges from office. These two clauses give specific powers to the Judicial Complaints Commission (JCC) to receive complaints against Judges and make an independent determination about the nature of the complaint. Where the JCC is satisfied that a complaint made against a Judge is not “frivolous, vexatious or malicious”, then they recommend a specific course of action to the President.
(g) GOVERNANCE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
ARTICLES 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205,
206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217,
218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224 and 225
These articles deal with devolved governance and local government and the introduction of Provincial Assemblies with their own speakers and legislative powers etc. These articles appear to have been borrowed from the South African Constitution and possibly that of the Republic of Uganda. Given our country’s population of just over 13 million and the enormous financial resources required to support such a system of devolved governance, the MMD is of the view that the country’s resources would be stretched to the upper limit to adequately fund such a system. The National Budget is currently unable to adequately and effectively support 159 members of the National Assembly. The proposed system may be desirable, but certainly not feasible given the limited resources of the country. The MMD is of the view that constitution making should also be driven and guided by certain amount of realism. No compelling reasons have been given for introducing a radically new system. There is a decentralization programme which has not yet been implemented, which can be improved and put in place.