The Law Association of Zambia has resolved that it will move the Constitutional Court to pronounce itself on a number of provisions and strike out all retrogressive provisions contained in the constitution amendment bill.

In a statement, Monday, the LAZ Council stated that at meeting held on Saturday, Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was considered, noting that some proposed provisions did not further the development of law as an instrument of social order.

“In light of numerous retrogressive provisions in the Bill and LAZs statutory duty, the LAZ council has resolved to put into motion a number of interventions with the ultimate aim of achieving a rethink about a number of retrogressive provisions in the bill. These include seeking the intervention of the wisdom of the judiciary by moving the Constitutional Court to pronounce itself on a number of these provisions and strike out all retrogressive provisions from the Bill. LAZ will also engage government through the Minister of Justice to convey its concerns about the retrogressive provisions in the Bill. LAZ is further reaching out to other stakeholders in the constitution making process to join hands with it in building consensus on the concerning provisions of the bill. LAZ remains committed to playing its statutory role of furthering the development of law as an instrument of social order, social justice and as an essential element in the growth of our democratic society,” the statement read.

“Consistent with its statutory mandate under section four of the Law Association of Zambia Act, it is the LAZ Council’s position that the law, especially the constitution being the supreme law of the land, must advance, and not erode, the collective fortunes of all its people by advancing the growth of a democratic society, social order and social justice. Unfortunately, there are a number of proposed positions in the constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No.2 of 2016 towards social justice, social order and positive growth of our democratic society, hence are retrogressive. LAZ has understood the current constitutional legislative process to be aimed at refining problematic provisions of the current constitution and not to reverse progressive provisions of the Constitution.”

The statement did highlight some of the provisions that LAZ considered to be retrogressive.

“Some of the retrogressive provisions include: the reintroduction of the position of deputy ministers which will only serve to divert meagre resources from important social sectors to fund the cost of introducing and maintaining deputy ministers; the provision creating Parliament but leaving the important task of stipulating the number of members of Parliament to an Act pf Parliament, essentially depriving ‘we the people’, the power to decide the number of our representatives in the legislative arm of government; the introduction of a mixed member electoral system but leaving it yet again to parliament o decide the exact nature of such a system; provisions relating to a coalition government in a presidential system which effectively deprive the people the chance to elect their president and uncertainty regarding the constitution and composition of the judiciary fuelled by provisions which leave open the number of judges to constitute the courts, yet again leaving it o the whims of successive governments to decide the number of judges,” read the statement.