4 of 10 | Biggest events in 2016:
On 5 January 2016, President Lungu presided over a historic event, when he signed Zambia’s fifth Constitution into law. It was portrayed as one of the biggest achievements of the PF government. Primarily because the late President Sata promised to enact a people-driven Constitution within 90 days of assuming office in 2011, but later changed his mind, and it therefore took four years – and a new president – before Zambia got a new Constitution. This is probably the closest Zambia has been to having a people-driven Constitution, but it became clear in 2016 that the new Constitution far from is perfect. First of all, government chose to bypass the population by enacting it through parliament, leaving only the Bill of Rights to the promised referendum (which was held alongside this year’s elections, but failed, due to a low voter turnout, meaning that a new referendum will have to be held). Secondly, parliament dropped five popular clauses from the Constitution, including provincial assemblies, proportional representation in parliament, ministers appointed from outside parliament, land being vested in the president, and budgeting in simple majority. Thirdly, the Constitution was rushed through towards the end, meaning that the final document is riddled with ambiguities, discrepancies and even possible typos, best highlighted by the 14-day debate in connection with the UPND’s election petition. Fourthly, towards the end of 2016, parliament voted to remove several clauses, including the 50%+1 system for election of a president, the vice-president being elected as the president’s running mate, the 14-day window for swearing in of a president after an election, and MPs not being members of councils. As a result, the Constitution is fast becoming anything but people-driven.