The Technical Committee is not ready to give the Zambian people the highly anticipated new constitution by the set October 31 deadline.
But Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are today expected to receive the final draft constitution and will be clad in ‘white’ as a symbol of good will that comes with the New Law.
Sources from the committee disclosed that the final draft was not yet ready as earlier promised despite earlier pronouncements that they would not go beyond the current October deadline.
“The draft constitution is not ready for submission, maybe until after mid November 2013, but they (committee) is still in meeting discussing some issues in the final document which did not seem to tally with the ruling Patriotic Front wants,” the source said.
But the Civil Society has geared up to receive the draft constitution today at the New Government Complex as the official deadline.
After a meeting yesterday, a number of organisations including the Oasis Forum, Non-Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council, (NGOCC), Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections (JCTR) and consortium of NGOs on the new Republican Constitution will be at the Complex to receive the final draft.
And speaking earlier with the Daily Nation, Operation Young Vote executive director Guess Nyirenda said the committee should hand over the draft law and immediately cease to exist as their mandate would have expired thereafter.
Nyirenda said the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) expect nothing short of the final document delivered by the said October 30 deadline after all other past deadlines failed to deliver for the people.
“Zambia should be a beacon of hope for the southern region, and having a people driven constitution adopted by referendum should be the only way to go, no option.
Article 79 Section 3 of the Republican Constitution clearly states that any alterations in the National Constitution even the positioning of a comma should be agreed upon through a referendum,” he said.
He charged that any further delays in the current reforms would imply there was no political will from the ruling PF to give the people the much desired constitution.
“We expect that after today, government should begin preparations for a referendum process with the K44 million 2014 Budget allocation, they should be ready to announce the formation of a Referendum Commission which should handle the rest of the programme,” he said.
He said there should be no changing of goal posts by government over the processes of adopting the National Constitution that “Parliament should only come into the process after the Referendum and not vice versa”.
The Technical Committee has deferred the submission of the final draft constitution since the initial 90 days ultimatum given during the inauguration speech of President Michael Sata in September 2011.
Other failed set deadlines include December 31 2012, then June 30 and most recent even despite commitments from the committee that they would complete the draft before July 31 without being paid for the extra month’s work.