New Govt must priotise enacting new Constitution-Actionaid

POLITICAL parties have been challenged to explain what concrete measures they will undertake in order to bring the constitution-making process to a logical conclusion.

Actionaid Zambia has observed that the country could not afford to continue spending huge sums of public funds on the constitution-making process at the expense of providing public services.

Actionaid governance programme officer Mary Mutupa advised the party that would form government next month to priotise the enactment of the new Constitution and access to information laws.

Ms Mutupa said if the present draft Constitution was enacted, it had the potential to transform many lives and the democratic dispensation in Zambia.

She said that the provision contained in the draft constitution if implemented would improve public service delivery in sectors such as education and healthcare among others.

“We also want to urge the party that will form government to make sure that the Public Order Act is repealed to ensure that there is no abuse of privileges by using the Act to infringe on citizens’ rights.

“The NGO Act too should be repealed as it has the potential to contribute to shrinking space for civil society in the country. A country that has a good constitution, which is followed and respected, has the potential to thrive in good governance and benefit the citizenry,” Ms Mutupa said.

Ms Mutupa observed that since the release of the draft Constitution, no concrete steps had been taken such as the development of a roadmap, legal framework and budgetary commitments.

She said a new Constitution was a solution to the economic and political challenges the country continued to face and that it should be gender responsive by working closely with end-users, particularly those that were marginalized such as women to understand their needs and contexts.

She said there was need to ensure a legal framework was put in place to assure the protection of the constitution-making process which includes both content and process issues.

Ms Mutupa said Zambians should ensure that the 2016 general elections were conducted under a new Constitution.