The Constitution Reforms and Education Coalition (CRECO) has asked Parliament to table and adopt the controversial National Dialogue Forum (NDF) resolutions saying it is madness for people to fight such a progressive Bill.
On Friday, CRECO organized what they termed as a Red Card campaign, to counter the Yellow Card protestors’ calls to among other things reject the constitution amendment bill.
In an interview, CRECO chairperson Hyde Haguta explained that the petition which they submitted on Friday would be presented to the Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini today, insisting that there was need to put the NDF resolutions into effect in the amended Constitution.
“We had the NDF in which we sat and discussed, when we went to the NDF, we were of a clear conviction that among the pieces of laws that we needed to amend, the Public Order Act was no exception because in the Public Order Act, there is embedded three fundamental rights that are also embedded in the Constitution: Articles 18, 19 and 20 to 21, thereabout. Number one, freedom of expression, number two, freedoms of assembly and number three, media freedom. Our freedom as journalists is in the Constitution and the Public Order Act, which is why we went to the NDF to say the rights must be given full effect in the existing Constitution and in the amended constitution,” said Haguta.
“What we are simply saying is that we need correct system of laws; we need our Constitution to be perfect; we need our Public Order (Act) to be clear; we need also the Electoral Process Bill to be very clear and these must go to Parliament. No one person should say that, ‘no, they have cancelled my press briefing because of the archaic old Public Order Act.’ This is why we changed it at the NDF, but after changing it, the same people we were trying to help, they fought it! Now, they are affected by it and they start pointing fingers, what kind of madness is that? In this country, we are a country of laws and we have laws that govern this country. Even if we may have challenges, but we have a legal system and laws that govern this country in a manner that has brought us this far.”
The petition was presented to four members of parliament, namely: Bwana Mkubwa PF member of parliament Dr Jonas Chanda, Sinda Independent member of parliament Masautso Tembo, among others.