PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has instructed Minister of Justice Given Lubinda to immediately halt the Constitution Amendment Bill until the proposed national dialogue process is completed.
This followed a discussion with a delegation of the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue that called on the Head of State at the Patriotic Front secretariat in Lusaka on Thursday.
The Constitutional Amendment Bill is scheduled for tabling in the next sitting of the National Assembly.
Several stakeholders, including the main opposition, the UPND, have opposed amendments to the Constitution in the absence of conclusive consultations.
“As you may be aware, following the press statement on 9th of May where I was reiterating government’s commitment to publishing the draft constitution in accordance with the roadmap that was presented to Parliament, I wish to state that there has been a significant interest from various stakeholders, some of whom have expressed concern that the time that had been allocated for them to make submissions on the constitution had been inadequate. Following further consultations, yesterday 10th May 2018 by His Excellency the President Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu with the various political parties under the auspices of the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID), the various political parties and government have agreed to allow for more consultations on the draft constitution,” Lubinda briefed journalists at his office yesterday.
He further said consequently, the revised roadmap for the constitution making process would be made and communicated to the public in due course.
“After consideration of the various requests from various stakeholders, particularly ZCID, the government has decided to delay the publication of the draft bill in order to give further opportunity for the various stakeholders to make further submissions in order to enrich the constitution making process,” said Lubinda.
“I wish to state that leading up to the request from various stakeholders, the Ministry of Justice, under the general direction of His Excellency the President, had undertaken the drafting work and consulted various stakeholders before submitting the bill to Cabinet for consideration. I wish to further state that the Government Printers was also ready to publish the draft constitution before the request for further consultation from ZCID. I also wish to thank the members of Cabinet for their diligent work in considering the draft bill over a period of over three days, working late into the evening in order to ensure that draft meets the aspirations of the citizens, as well as all officers in the Ministry of Justice who worked tirelessly on this task.”