A Press Statement for Immediate Release 24 September 2013
CONCEDE: THE CONSTITUTION REVIEW PROCESS NEEDS LEGAL PROTECTION – SAYS OASIS FORUM
The Oasis Forum has consistently urged Government to consider protecting the on-going constitutional review process with a legal framework. Evidently, the history of constitution making in Zambia has shown that in the absence of such legal provisions, this process as well as the outcomes have been prone to manipulation and capture, all sorts of inefficiencies and outright confusion.
For sure, history seems to be repeating itself today with the current constitution making process. The recent statements attributed to the Spokesperson of the Technical Committee on Drafting the Constitution clearly illustrate the repercussions of undertaking constitution making processes without paying serious attention to the importance of underpinning the process within a legal framework.
First and foremost, it is saddening to note that the Committee has failed to avail the people of Zambia with the final opportunity to validate their input in the process. The shortcoming in time could have been a foreseen challenge had the process been premised on a clearly laid down roadmap. Second and perhaps more threatening, reminiscent of past tendencies, it would be a serious error for the document to be handed only to the Republican President. It is only just and fair that this document lands in the hands of the Public who are the rightful custodians, the Republican President and Parliament at the same time!
It is on this basis that the Forum is earnestly appealing to the Patriotic Front Government, Members of the Drafting Committee and the Minister of Justice to exhibit genuine patriotism by adhering to principles of constitutionalism. In fact, it is not too late to institute a process of legally protecting the on-going constitution making process. This request is in the interest of all well-meaning Zambians!
Fr. Cleophas Lungu
(Oasis Forum Spokesperson)