The on going National Constitution Convention has proposed to uphold the proposal to allow non Zambian Citizens to be voted into public office and be paid emoluments by government in the office of councillor or mayor by mere obtaining a residence permit. Some of the delegates to the convention have described this proposal as underminig the very soveregnity and sanctity of the entrire process of creating a Zambian Constitution. This allows the scenario of district councils being bought by foreign intrest groups and a foreign mayor from Lebanon, Somalia, Ruwanda or China being elected into public office once he or she has obtained a residence permit.
There are no vetting conditons to prevent a deviant from a foreign country from subverting the function of government and promoting the interests of a foreign power with the inclusion of this misplaced back door for foreigners. Matters of land and licencing which are administered at the local level will no be even further compromised to the disadvantage of the Citizens. It is acceptable to take advice from foreigners but it is now possible that they maybe leading us at the local level. A Porposed Provincial Government to be called the Provincial Assembley has also been proposed of which a Mayor who maybe a foreigner may thus be elected to provincial government. Some delegates have also proposed that it might be prudent to ensure that candidates should be required to be registered voters in the election they wish to participate in. The disregard for the office of councillor may have arisen as currently the centralised system does not allow councils to control and expend much of the national treasury but with the proposed devolution of the governance system these councils shall be responsible for the expenditure of upto 70% of the National Budget. With the strength of foreign lobby groups and special interest groups it can only be described as dangerous and ill concieved to allow foreigners to be voted into power.
Article 214 of the Draft constitution states that:
(1) Subject to clause (5), elections to a district council shall be by direct universal adult suffrage through a secret ballot, conducted under the first-past-the-post system as prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament. (2) A district council shall consist of the following councillors:
(a) a mayor or council chairperson;
(b) a deputy mayor or deputy council chairperson;
(c) councillors elected in accordance with clause (1) by registered voters resident within the district;
(d) Members of Parliament from the district; and
(e) three chiefs representing all the chiefs in the district, elected by the chiefs in the district.
(3) A person shall qualify to be elected as a councillor, excluding councillors specified under clause (2) (d) and (e), if that person-
(a) is not a Member of Parliament;
(b) is not less than eighteen years of age;
(c) has obtained, as a minimum academic qualification, a grade twelve certificate or its equivalent;
(d) is resident in the district, and if that person is not a citizen that person is a holder of a resident permit; and
(e) has a certificate of clearance showing the payment of council rates, levies, charges, taxes, tariffs and fees, where applicable.
(4) A district council may invite any person, whose presence is in its opinion desirable, to attend and to participate in the deliberations of the district council but such person shall have no vote. (5) The term of a district council shall be five years. (6) A councillor shall be paid such allowances as may be determined by the Emoluments Commission.
215. (1) There shall be a mayor or council chairperson and a deputy mayor or deputy council chairperson for every district council. (2) A mayor or council chairperson and a deputy mayor or deputy council chairperson shall be – (a) elected in accordance with Article 214 (1) by registered voters resident within the district, during elections for councillors; (b) elected for a term of five years