Former Member of the Technical Committee of the 2012 Zambian Constitution Rodger Chongwe SC has urged President Edgar Lungu to publicise the 2012 Constitution report which was produced by his committee so that Zambians can compared the document to Bill 10 and decide which one is the most thoughtful effort at producing a people driven constitution.
Chongwe, who is also a former minister of justice and member of parliament for Mandevu, recalled that the PF discarded some of the recommendations in the 2012 report, while adopting a few which Bill 10 now sought to repeal.
In a statement sent exclusively to News Diggers, Monday, Chongwe was commenting on remarks by Leader of the Opposition Jack Mwiimbu who said Bill 10 was a PF document.
“The 2012 Constitution was presented to President Sata in 2015. It was arrived at with great cost after the most comprehensive ever, country wide constitutional consultation with the public; held at District, Provincial and National level. In other words, the draft constitutional document was in fact approved by the National Constituent Assembly here at Lusaka. It was accompanied by a report. The 2012 Draft Constitution was binned by the PF in favour of parts it selected, some of which it currently wants to repeal,” Chongwe recalled.
“The then Minister of Justice, Dr. Simbyakula announced that the Government will cherry pick parts of the document for presentation and enactment by the National Assembly. Part enacted was the majoritarian presidency election which Bill 10 now boots out. It is hard to believe that what is now being put forward as a serious effort to improve our Constitution is anything as meaningful as the Draft presented to the late President Michael Sata in 2015.”
He challenged President Lungu to publish in full the document which was presented to president Michael Sata by the Technical Committee of the 2012 Zambian Constitution in 2015 under the aegis of the former Chief Justice of Zambia, Justice Annel Silungwe SC.
“Please let the current President publish in full the document which was presented to his predecessor in 2015. He may as well when doing this explain why the document was not enacted into the current Constitution of Zambia. This is the document in which the Zambian people put an end to by-elections by introducing proportional representation. All the provinces overwhelmingly voted for proportional representation to replace the current first past the post-election system; the only province that voted no to the proportional electoral representation system of elections was the Northern Province,” Chongwe stated.
“Why doesn’t the PF Government make a trial effort to print, publicise and distribute the 2012 Constitution Report so that all Zambians can decide for themselves which is the most thoughtful effort which was made by and large without partisan interference; i.e. Bill 10 or the 2012 Draft Report.”
He noted that at the moment, political parties and many other thinking individuals and organisations were not convinced about what government was doing on Bill 10.
“That way, the Government will attract kudos for being fair to its citizens. It is apparent that not only political parties but many other thinking individuals and organisations are not convinced with what the Government is doing on this issue. The process that produced the 2015 Constitutional Report took into account submissions and contributions made to the Committee by all the then existing political parties,” stated Chongwe.