Clear constitution roadmap a must

The Technical Committee (TC) drafting the National Constitution should provide clear guidance on the way forward to achieving a people-driven constitution, says Alliance for Good Governance (AGG).
Secretary General McDonald Chipenzi said Zambia needed a constitution that was free of threats of arrests especially after the final draft constitution is presented to the President.
He said preparations for a national referendum should be put in place in order to allow for information to be disseminated in good time to the people.
Mr Chipenzi charged that recent statements from the TC that it would withdraw some resolutions from the National Convention out of the final Draft Constitution has the potential to threaten the confidence people have so far in the Committee.
“Any serious departure from the submission of the larger body in the final document will render the document irrelevant and vindicate people’s perception on government’s invisible hand of interference in process,” he said.
Mr Chipenzi  who was speaking during a Press conference held at FODEP House in Lusaka yesterday said that the government has failed to provide a roadmap for the constitution making process which PF promised to deliver within 90 days of its stay in office.
“We all remember that the PF promised the Zambian people a new constitution within ninety (90) days of their ascension to power and have continued to promise a people driven constitution,
“AGG commends the Technical Committee on Drafting the Zambian Constitution on the work done this far since the release of the First Draft Constitution on 30th April, 2012. This commitment has to-date waned especially with uncoordinated policy statements from government ministers and ruling party officials,” Mr Chipenzi said.
He said serious opinions have arisen which seem to threaten the current constitution making process.
“Many people feel  government would like to place an invisible hand on the process of coming up with a new Constitution despite its denial to doing so especially coupled with ruling party’s silence and failure to submit to the technical committee’s views on the first draft constitution,” he said.
Mr Chipenzi has since called on President Michael Sata to urgently put in place a Referendum Commission with powers to manage public awareness and information.“A referendum is a must and should be the only mode for the adoption of the Constitution. We are aware of constitutional provisions of the need for a referendum and the requirement of 50% of eligible voters to participate for the referendum to be successful especially when amending the Bill of Rights,” he said.