Oasis Forum calls for withdrawal of Constitution amendment Bill

Mwitwa

The OASIS Forum has stressed that the intended amendments to the Zambian constitution (Amendment Bill NO 10) will erode the progressive strides that the country made in 2016 following the enactment of the constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act, No 2 of 2016.
In a statement released Thursday August 8th and signed by Oasis Forum Chairperson Eddie Mwitwa, the Forum has listed some of the notable intended constitutional amendments of grave concern as; the removal of the classification of the country as a multy-religious State (proposed amendment to the preamble and article 4), increase in the powers of the executive arm of government, mixed member system of electing members of parliament, introduction of a coalition government, the continued stay in office of Cabinet ministers until the next general election, extension of the term of parliament to the next date of the general election, re-introduction of deputy ministers, erosion of the independence of the judiciary according to the proposed amendments to Article 144, removal of parliamentary approval of loans to be contracted by the State and the election of Mayors by councillors.
It has further regretted that since independence, Zambia has been involved in a number of processes to reform the Republican Constitution at great expense.
‘For 53 years now, the people of Zambia have yearned for a good Constitution which would embody their collective will and aspirations and which would stand the test of time. Looking at the five (5) attempts that have been made to reform the supreme law of the land, we see that seems to have eluded us yet again,’ reads part of the statement.
The Oasis Forum has also lamented that the Minister of Justice had assured the nation in 2017 that the constitutional amendments would only be to fine tune or refine the current constitution, it was taken aback at the introduction of a number of substantive provisions in the constitution of Zambia (Amendment0 Bill, which in fact and in effect will not amount to fine tuning the constitution but would fundamentally alter the basic structure of the Constituion and the three arms of government if enacted into law.
It has since strongly objected to all retrogressive proposed amendments not only to the Republican Constitution, but also to other laws that govern the nation noting that Zambia was not in a constitutional crisis but might be driven into one with the proposed amendments to the constitution.
The Forum has called upon the Executive to withdraw the Constitutional of Zambia (Amendment ) Bill NO 10 of 2019 from the National Assembly to allow for broader and meaningful consultations and dialogue on the possible amendments to Part iii of the Constitution (Bill of Rights) through a timely and well publicised and properly conducted referendum in the foreseeable future.

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