The Civil Society Constitution Coalition has expressed concern on current developments around the constitution making process.
In a press statement, the coalition said it is immensely disturbed by the apparent lack of seriousness on the part of the Minister of Justice, Winter Kabimba in explaining to the nation the expected date of delivery of the constitution by the technical committee.
‘It is not long ago when himself stated publicly that the Technical Committee must produce the draft constitution by or on the 30th of June 2013, and as CSOs we expected him to dialogue with the Technical Committee over the matter in order to reach an agreement on when the constitution would be finalized’ said Fr. Leonard Chiti, the spokesperson for the coalition.
‘What is even more surprising is that on the 9th of July 2013, he made a statement in which he made no mention of the exact date when the draft constitution would be simultaneously presented to the general public and the president.’
Fr. Chiti noted that as a coalition, they have keenly followed the entire constitution making process and now demand that the government gives a clear position on the matter without any delays so that the people can know when the second draft will be ready. The coalition has further stated the need for decisive leadership in the constitution making process, appears wanting in light of the current uncertainty in the finalization of the second draft.
The coalition states that with June 30th 2013 deadline having passed, and in view of the request from the Technical Committee to extend the drafting process to the end of July, it is only prudent that the Minister of Justice must agree to this deadline with the technical committee, and must ensure that the relevant support required by the technical committee, particularly availability of draftspersons is fully availed to the committee to complete this work within this new deadline which should not be beyond 31st July 2013.
The coalition further notes that the current Patriotic Front government is now seemingly the most unresponsive government in the history of this country as it has failed to heed the calls of citizens of this country on various issues, particularly on the constitution making process, which was one of the key promises made by the party and the basis on which many citizens voted for them.
The civil society constitution coalition is composed of:
- ActionAid International Zambia;
- Anti-Voter Apathy (AVAP);
- Citizen’s Forum;
- Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR);
- Hope for Human Rights;
- Infotainment Movement;
- Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR);
- Save the Children;
- Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD);
- Transparency International Zambia (TIZ);
- Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign (TALC);
- Zambia Civic Education Association (ZCEA);
- Zambia Community Based Natural Resources Management Forum (ZCBNMF)
- Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA)
- Zambian Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers (ZUFIAW/FFTUZ)
- Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA