Oasis Forum demands law to protect constitution making process

 The Oasis Forum has asked government to introduce a piece of legislation in parliament which will create a legal frame work for the constitution making process.

And the forum has also demanded that government publish the budget for the constitution making process. 

Oasis Forum Chairperson, Cleophas Lungu, said government needs to introduce the piece of legislation in parliament that will ensure that the constitution making process is not manipulated by anyone.

Father Lungu who is also Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) Secretary General said at a press briefing in Lusaka today that there must be a legal framework to protect the works and eventual products of the Technical Committee.

He explained that an Act of Parliament must therefore be promulgated to see the process pass through a referendum and eventual enactment by parliament.

Fr. Lungu said the constitution making process runs a risk of failing due to what he described lack of political will from government to positively respond to the demands of Zambian people.

He also cited the delay by the President to appoint a Referendum Commission as worrying.

“The President in his inaugural speech to parliament undertook to the nation that his government would deliver a people driven constitution within 90 days which would be subjected to referendum and later to parliament for the enactment only. Indeed, the referendum process is a long process which requires adequate preparation.

We believe that the preparation for the appointment of the Referendum Commission cannot in anyway affect the current processes which are on-going,” he said.

He has meanwhile commended the Technical Committee on the draft constitution for its hard work and preparing the first draft report stating that the committee is sincere and has the right intention.

Fr Lungu has also advised government to make public with immediate effect the budget for the constitution making process in the spirit of promoting transparency and accountability.

“The importance of publishing the budget cannot be overemphasised and we trust that the government will this time around rise to the occasion. We are aware that recently, the Minister of Justice announced to the nation that a sum of K95 billion has been budgeted

for the work of the committee only,” he said.

He has meanwhile asked government to consult other stakeholders such as political parties on the process for it to succeed.

The meeting was attended Rev. Susanne Matale, Laws Association of Zambia (LAZ) President James Banda, and Non Government Organisation Coordinating Council Chairperson Beatrice Grillo.

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