AMENDMENTS to the Constitution are welcome provided there is no manipulation and doctoring of the document, the United National Independence Party has said.
UNIP secretary general Alfred Banda told the Daily Nation that while he was yet to receive communication from the Ministry of Justice over the proposed amendments to the amended Constitution, the party was in total support of such an initiative and welcomed the amendment to rectify the ambiguity contained in the document.
“We welcome the amendment to the Constitution so that its clauses which have raised dust can be addressed and we hope this will be made in good faith with the sole purpose of giving Zambians a document that they will appreciate unlike the current situation where certain clauses are so full of ambiguities that they have attracted diverse interpretations,” Rev. Banda said.
“However, we will not tolerate a situation where those in power want to engineer the constitutional amendment to suit them. Already, we hear rumours that the sitting Government wants to use the exercise to adjust the tenure of office of the President to seven years. That we shall not tolerate but we want progressive clauses like the proportional representation which unfortunately did not make it in the final document during the enactment process,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Zambia Republican Party said the constitutional amendments must be approached with a sober mind by realising that it did not belong to those in power but the Zambians whose interests it should safe-guard.
ZRP president Wright Musoma said there were a lot of lacunas imbedded in the Constitution in its current form which should be addressed, saying assertions by some sections of society that the Constitution could not be amended were misleading and did not have any legal backing.
“The Constitution in its current form has a lot of lacunas which must be addressed because they create a lot of loopholes for manipulation and so, the amendment should be supported. We don’t want to have a situation that will land us into chaos like what happened over the Constitutional Court over the expiry of the 14 days of hearing an election petition. It must be explicit,” Mr. Musoma said.
Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue spokesperson Edwin Sakala similarly observed that Zambians will only appreciate the Constitution once the lacunas therein are dealt with and the document becomes explicit to prevent any room for divergent interpretation as that created room for manipulation. Mr. Sakala said there were a lot of clauses in the current document which seemed to be contradicting each other, hence the need for urgent attention so that the whole document could be harmonised.