Twenty Two citizens who petitioned the National Assembly to limit terms for Councillors and members of parliament have also engaged the Attorney General to consider amending the law.
According to a letter dated October 19, 2017 addressed to the Attorney General and signed by the lead petitioner Isaac Mwanza, the petitioners requested for the deletion of Articles 106 (2) and 154 (2)(b) of the Constitution, so that MPs can only run for two terms.
“We refer you to the letter dated October 13, 2017 from the National Assembly of Zambia, attached, on the above subject matter. The 22 petitioners, who are all citizens of Zambia from diverse background, had petitioned the National Assembly of Zambia pursuant to Article 88 of the Constitution of Zambia, Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia for a motion to have the law on term limits apply to all elective positions of Councillors, Council Chairpersons, Mayors, Members of Parliament, and President. The petitioners have noted that the law on term limits has, since 24 August, 1991, selectively been applied to target elective offices of President and Mayors or Council Chairpersons to the exclusion of other elective offices. You will note from the Final Report of the Technical Committee that the National Convention adopted provisions that would also allow term limits on offices of Members of Parliament, and Councillors,” Mwanza, who is also YALI governance advisor, stated
The petitioners proposed the addition of clauses which would limit terms.
“In view of the above, we request your consideration for inclusion of clause 5 in Article 47 that shall read: 47 (5) A person who has twice held office as President, member of parliament, mayor, council chairperson or Councillor is not eligible for election to that office at the expiry of his or her second term, whether consecutive or not. We further request the deletion of Articles 106 (2), 154 (2)(b), and re-wording of the last part of Article 106 (6). To read, “for purposes of Article 47 (5).” In the event that the hounourable house, elect not to adopt the change which we proposed to limit all elected officers whether consecutive or not, our proposal was and still remains that the constitution be amended so that all who aspire to the public office are accorded an equal opportunity to serve as long as they are willing. More importantly serve as long as Zambians are willing to vote for them in their chosen public office. By this measure, all elective positions would open to all aspirants regardless of previous service in elected office. It will leave the choice of elected leaders to the power of the Zambian electorate without being barred by Legislation as the present case,” stated Mwanza.
“Last week, the National Assembly referred the petition to the Ministry of Justice who, the Assembly said, are making holistic amendments to the Constitution. The National Assembly acknowledged the petition and met the constitutional requirement for a motion to be debated before the National Assembly but advised that, in order to avoid duplication, the matter must be considered through holistic amendments to the Constitution being initiated by the Ministry of Justice.”