Chitala nods piece meal Constitution amendment

 Zambians should encourage members of Parliament (MPs) to come up with progressive amendments so that the country can complete the adoption of the new Constitution by August next year, says Mbita Chitala.

He said Zambians should thank the Patriotic Front (PF) Government for its bold decision to take the Constitution Amendment Bill to Parliament for enactment of the new Constitution because the process is cost-effective as opposed to the demands by the Grand Coalition that the entire document should be subjected to a referendum, Mbita Chitala has said.

Dr Chitala, a veteran politician, said the presentation of the Constitution Amendment Bill to Parliament by Justice Minister Ngosa Simbyakula was an outcome of many years of national debate.

He said constitutional amendments needed consensus because the amendment Bill was a culmination of controversy which had at some point during the MMD rule forced some citizens to challenge the constitution-making process in the courts of law.

Dr Chitala said in his analysis of the constitution-making process that while some people including the Grand Coalition chaired by Father Leonard Chiti had been championing the adoption of the new Constitution through a referendum as had been recommended by various commissions of inquiry, common sense dictated that subjecting the entire process to a referendum was not going to be cost-effective or timely. He advised Zambians to unite around Government’s roadmap so that Parliament could be helped to come up with constitutional amendments that would enhance good governance in a cost- effective and progressive manner.

He stated that it was encouraging that the adoption of the new Constitution through the amendment Bill had been supported by Zambia’s co-operating partners including the United States because it was clear that Government’s roadmap was going to benefit the country through savings from unnecessary costs.

“In the current constitutional debate in our National Assembly, our MPs will be confronted with about six controversial clauses which will include the dual citizenship clause which I think is progressive and will cure the demands of our diaspora citizens.

‘‘The MPs will deal with the election of President under the majoritarian system of 50 percent +1 which some people think is too costly but is supported by the majority of Zambians. The MPs will debate the election of the Vice-President as running mate to stop the costly presidential elections when a President dies or is incapacitated as well as the appointment of ministers from outside Parliament to separate the executive from the legislature among others,” Dr Chitala said.