GOVERNMENT Chief Whip Brian Mundubile says Rodger Chongwe SC’s advice on how government should proceed with the constitution amendment process is too late.
On Tuesday, Chongwe, who is a former member of the Technical Committee of the 2012 Zambian Constitution, President Edgar Lungu to publicize the 2012 Constitution report which was produced by his committee so that Zambians could compare the document to Bill 10 and decide which one was the most thoughtful effort at producing a people driven constitution.
But in an interview, Mundubile wondered why Chongwe was silent when there was an opportunity to make submissions at the National Dialogue Forum and before the Parliamentary Select Committee.
“The question that I would have is what are we trying to achieve by publicizing that report? Also to say that the 2016 Constitution Amendment Bill number two took into consideration the contents of the report that were made before 2016 and arising from the contents, that the technical committee was assembled to look at the 2016 constitution, they took into account the contents of that report. Now, we are in the process of refining the 2016 constitution amendment bill number two so I think for my angle, I am saying we can have a very first presumption that the contents of the report being referred to in the 2012 report were considered in coming up with the 2016 constitution. We are refining the constitution through Bill 10,” said Mundubile.
“The Constitution making process is about trying to hear many voices as possible. If at all they are other stakeholders that felt very strongly about the contents of some previous reports, they had the opportunity to submit to Ministry of Justice when it was inviting submissions to amend the 2016 constitution. The stakeholders also had an opportunity to submit at the National Dialogue Forum. And lastly stake holders an opportunity to appear to appear before the parliamentary Select Committee which was tasked to scrutinize the contents of Bill number 10. If some stakeholders have come out now, I really wonder what value the contributions will make because what we have now, we have the bill which was presented and it will soon be coming for second reading. He would have come earlier and asked for that, then we derive some value. If it is published now, what are we trying to achieve?”