CSO strategise as Fr Lungu says Zambia can’t waste more years on constitution

Civil Society Organization promoting good governance in Zambia are gathered in Chisamba to analyze the Zambian Constitution making process and what stage it has reached. The CSO as are also planning a series of advocacy actions to undertake in the event that the country goes to a referendum after June 30, 2013 when the Technical committee releases the draft constitution.

Over 30 participants drawn from FODEP, YALI, Oasis Forum, MISA, Panos, SACCORD, ZaCoMeF, WFC, WILSA and the Youths organisations are present

Giving a key note address, Zambia Episcopal Conference Secretary General Fr. Cleophas Lungu said :

“After 17 years of wasted years, Zambia can not afford to see wastage of resources in constitutional reforms. We see constitution as a prerequisite for development.

Fr. Lungu said a good constitution will see medicine in hospitals and food on our tables.  New constitution must be done I a good way, in a right way. A new good constitution for Zambia is a must.

He said CSO agreed that they come up with a consolidated basic minimums for what the Zambian constitutions should have which will then be used to judge if the document from the technical committee meets the basic standard of a good constitution.

He said the CSO are also gathered to plan for what if the constitution is not produced on time what actions to take. He gave an example that CSO must come up with a private member’s bill to compel government prepare for a referendum and prepare a budget for the adoption of the new constitution.

“To embark on advocacy activities to marshal the support and interest of Zambians on the importance of concluding the constitution making process on time is a must,” he said.

“We need to remain vigilant and we need to remain alert, Past experience has shown that we can not trust the whole process in the hand of the politician. Remember “ All it takes for bad things to happen is for good people to remain silent”. Fr. Lungu said

“All of us in this room are good people and we mean well for this country. I truly believe that “Every human being must always aspire to inspire before one expires.” Fr. Lungu said

He is hopeful that through this meeting the CSOs will inspire one another to aspire for greatness in this country.

The meeting which started today ends tomorrow.

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