On behalf of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), I wish to welcome you to this media briefing on Zambia’s Constitutional Reform Process.
As the nation may be well aware, last week the Technical Committee on Drafting the Zambian Constitution did issue a statement informing the nation that the Ministry of Justice had directed the Technical Committee to only print 10 copies of the Final Draft Constitution and the Report that will only be submitted to the President.
We note that since the statement, government has not responded comprehensively to give clear answers. Instead what we have heard is a statement intimidating members of the TC that if they did not sign the report it will be defying the president. YALI takes note that no explanation has been given by the minister as to the reason why the TC must only produce ten copies of the constitution of the final constitution. The Zambian people would have appreciated a sound reason that would have helped them make a better judgement on the seeming standoff.
It has however come to our attention from impeccable sources that there are manoeuvres by the government to set up another committee to look at the work which has already been done by the TC to validate the document. We have learnt with great disappointment that the minister of justice would like to appoint a ten member team to look through work of the Technical Committee. It has also come to our knowledge that there are intentions to appoint the current Solicitor General as chair of the said committee.
We have a number of questions that we would like the government to respond to:
• Can the minister confirm that he is in the process of appointing this ten member committee?
• How long will the said committee take to validate the work which has already been?
• How much more is the Zambian taxpayer going to spend on the said committee?
• What validation can a ten member team do on the work done by the TC composed of 17 experts who have gone around the country to 82 districts, 10 provinces of Zambia?
• Why is the Ministry of Justice trying very hard to deny the Zambian people access to the document were they have spent about 115 Million to come up with the document?
• If the setting up of the committee is true, can it be assumed that the this government would like to produce a white paper which it has repeatedly said that it will not?
We demand that the President should immediately address the nation this very important matter. This matter is slowly turning into a national crisis and it cause serious divisions among our people hence the need for leadership from the head of state.
We demand that the final constitution be released without any further delay as our people cannot afford to wait any longer after spending all that money on this process.
We demand a clear roadmap of the constitutional reform process to avoid further gymnastics and tricks in this very important process.
God Bless Zambia! God Bless our leaders and God Bless you all.
We thank you
Young African Leaders Initiative