A consortium of civil society organizations campaigning for a people driven constitution in Zambia has criticized government’s directive to the technical committee on drafting the Zambia constitution to print only 10 copies of the second
draft constitution which are expected to be submitted to the Head of State.
Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) General Secretary Cleophas Lungu, who is also the Oasis Forum Spokesperson, appealed to President Michael Sata to exercise true leadership and give direction on the constitution review process so that more than 10 copies could be
printed for submission to him and the public simultaneously.
In a speech delivered on behalf of other members of the consortium at the media briefing in Lusaka today, Fr. Lungu wondered what had changed for government to depart from its original commitment of availing the document simultaneously to the President and the public.
He noted that the constitution was not a preserve of a privileged few but was a document for every citizen.
He further expressed fear that the referendum on the constitution may not be held going by the pace at which the process was being undertaken.
Fr. Lungu stated that the K44.2 million allocated for constitution and referendum related processes under the estimates for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) in the 2014 budget was not enough compared to compared to a minimum of about K500 million which
he said was required to hold a proper referendum.
And Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) Director Leonard Chiti and University of Zambia Student Union (UNZASU) president Steven Kyengula demanded for an explanation from the Minister of Justice for restricting the printing of the second draft constitution to only ten copies.
Fr. Chiti said ten copies will not be enough even for the technical committee drafting the document.
He alleged that the Minister of Justice has not consulted or explained as to why the Committee of experts should print only 10 copies instead of many copies so that members of the public can have access to the document.
And UNZASU president Steven Kyengula said students at the highest institute of learning want more copies to be printed just like the first draft constitution which he said was widely circulated.