Release draft constitution now – NGOCC

The Non Governmental Organization Coordinating Council NGOCC has demanded that the Technical Committee Drafting the Constitution should immediately release the final draft constitution.

NGOCC board chairperson Beatrice Grillo said her organisation and other CSOs were demanding the immediate release of the final draft constitution and simultaneous presentation of the document to President Michael Sata and the general public and a referendum as the mode of adopting the constitution.

Grillo said NGOCC was strongly opposed to attempts to table the Constitutional Amendment Bill of Zambia in Parliament as a way of adopting the constitution.

She said in her statement reviewing the year 2013 that government’s contradictory  statements on the need for the country to have a new constitution despite the technical committee having finished its work had raised a lot of concerns and fears that there were schemes to manipulate the process and contents of the draft constitution.

Grillo has reiterated that her organization would not accept anything short of a new constitution which would have an expanded Bill of Rights hence the need for referendum.

“We would like to reiterate and echo the majority of Zambians that we will not accept anything short of a new constitution which will have an expanded bill of rights, hence the need for a referendum for its adoption,” she said. While the election of the PF government in 2011 provided some ray of hope, that they would give the people of Zambia their wishes and desires on the constitution, events of the last few months of this administration have unfortunately proved otherwise, and this has remained a pipe dream,” she said.

And Grillo has warned that Zambia was at risk of sliding into debt crisis at the rate the Patriotic Front (PF) was engaging the country into foreign borrowing and has demanded for strong legal reforms of the debt management process to avoid the risk of Zambia slipping into a debt trap.

Grillo said that she was disappointed with the PF government’s high debt contraction levels without caution.