Non-Governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) Executive Director Engwase Mwale says government should put in place enabling legislation for actualising the amended Constitution.

In a statement issued to News Diggers! today, Mwale said as President Edgar Lungu officially opens Parliament on Friday, It was expected that government would spell out the roadmap for the harmonisation and cleaning up of the amended Constitution of 2016.

“We call upon Government to facilitate for the actualisation of the amended Constitution by putting in place enabling legislation as Republican President Edgar Chagwa Lungu officially opens the Second Session of the Twelfth National Assembly on Friday, 15th September 2017. It is our expectation that Government will clearly spell out the road map for the harmonisation and cleaning up of the Amended Constitution of 2016 to eliminate the lacunas that were occasioned by the rushed enactment process. NGOCC expects the President to spell out when Government will start the process of enacting enabling legislation for the full operationalisation of the amended Constitution,” Mwale said.

Mwale also said NGOCC expects President Lungu to state how his government intends to promote national unity and peace following the division which ensued after the 2016 general elections.

“The Amended Constitution has created a number of institutional mechanisms and processes that will require subsidiary legislation. Of interest to the women’s movement is the Gender Equity and Equality Commission which has not yet been operationalised. Further, NGOCC expects the President to announce when the government intends to facilitate for the holding of the National Referendum for inclusion of the expanded Bill of Rights in the constitution,” she said.

Mwale further urged all Members of Parliament (MPs) to put national interest first as the Twelfth National Assembly convenes.

“In addition, NGOCC notes that the last General Elections in 2016 left the nation largely divided with violence having been the main contributory factor. It is therefore our expectation that the President will give very clear indication in his address on how his Government intends to promote national unity and peace which are critical for national development. We are however happy that there is an ongoing process of dialogue by various stakeholders. NGOCC expects that all the stakeholders will commit to the process,” said Mwale.

“In conclusion, NGOCC would also like to urge all the Members of Parliament (MPs) to put national interest first as the Twelfth National Assembly convenes this Friday 15th September 2017. As the people’s representatives, MPs should ensure that they put their people’s interests first and work in unison to shape the legislative direction of the nation. We wish to reiterate the need for our political leaders to focus on national development devoid of the usual politicking that mostly preoccupy national discourse.”