constitution review

Civil society organisations came out in droves this week (see Quotes) to condemn what they see as government’s hidden agenda to amend the already-amended constitution (see Fact Box). Last week parliament voted to recommend to remove several clauses, including the 50%+1 system for election of a president, the vice-president being elected as a running mate, the 14-day window before swearing in a president after election (apologies, last week we wrote 7 days), and MPs not being members of councils. The vote was triggered by a private motion moved by PF MP Rodgers Mwewa. However, as the PF enjoys a majority in parliament, the whole thing was perceived as government pulling the strings.

When Lungu was sworn in for his first term in January 2015, he promised: “I want to hand you a new constitution. We will definitely release a people-driven constitution.” And when he assented to the new constitution in January 2016: “Today as a people, we have an opportunity to make history. Today provides a momentous occasion for us as a nation. Zambians, here is our new constitution and a beginning of a new era!”

This week, Lungu stated: “The constitution is a sacred document, sacrosanct, but if you find that it is not working for you, you go back to the people; you go back to the makers, and say ‘this is not working’. And I can tell you that there are no better people to guide us on the constitution than the makers in parliament,” he told the Daily Mail.

deputy ministers will not come back!

history of constitution