Government Chief Whip Brian Mundubile has called on Zambian lawyers around the country to resist the temptation of providing “off-the-shelf” solutions to the country’s constitution-making process.
Speaking during a media briefing, Tuesday, Mundubile said legal professionals should understand the country’s unique circumstances as they offer guidance in the Constitution amendment process.
“Allow me to take this opportunity to advise our professionals, especially those that are in the law profession, both local and in the diaspora; our professionals should contribute positively to the development of law in Zambia. In order to provide proper guidance, they should start by appreciating Zambia’s unique circumstances in matters of democracy, constitutionalism, peace….as distinguished from other jurisdictions so that their contributions are relevant. It should be further understood that constitution-making or amendments are triggered by two main factors: time and circumstances,” Mundubile said.
“Circumstances and time that led to the Constitution amendments in Kenya, South Africa and Namibia are totally different to ours. You, therefore, need a comparative analysis of these two jurisdictions and their circumstances to give proper guidance. We should resist the temptation of providing ‘off-the-shelf’ solutions in constitution-making. Wide consultations and general consensus is required in this process. It should not be about PF and UPND or lawyers, it should be about all Zambians, generally.”
He further called on organisations to consult their general membership as they bring submissions to the Select Committee to avoid conflicting statements from their members.
“Now, that the Honorable Speaker (Dr Patrick Matibini) has given a position on how Parliament will proceed with the Constitution amendment process, it is now time for organisations and citizens alike to take time and assemble their submissions, which they will present to the Select Committee. Organizations should take time to consult their general membership on individual proposed amendments so as to achieve consensus and, thereby, avoiding having conflicting positions on the amendments. When crafting the said amendments, they should remember that the Constitution should be couched in broad and generous terms to avoid frequent and regular amendments. The NDF (National Dialogue Forum) aimed at making the Constitution less talkative. The ruling by the Speaker, through a letter to SC John Sangwa, should now bring Zambians together to dialogue further on Constitution amendment through the Select Committee,” said Mundubile, who is also Northern Province Minister.
“I also wish to note that the differences between those supporting the NDF and those opposed to it are becoming fewer by the day. Some of the earlier differences were on account of misinterpretation of the role and powers of Parliament in the legislature process and other differences were based on the lack of understanding of some facts surrounding the constitution-making process.”