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Chapter One Foundation comments on His Excellency President Hakainde Hichilema’s address during the ceremonial opening of the 1st session of the 13th Parliament

PRESS RELEASE DATED 13TH SEPTEMBER 2021 ON THE SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT HAKAINDE HICHILEMA DURING THE CEREMONIAL OPENING OF THE 1ST SESSION OF THE 13TH PARLIAMENT

Chapter One Foundation Limited promotes and protects human rights, human rights defenders, constitutionalism, social justice, and the rule of law in Zambia. Our aim is to promote and protect the Constitution and the rights included in it and by so doing, free the space for Zambians to fully participate in the democratic governance of the country. It is for this reason that we wish to comment on the address of His Excellency Mr Hakainde Hichilema at the opening of the 1st session of the 13th National Assembly on 10th September 2021.

We wish to commend His Excellency on expressing his commitment to upholding human rights and restoring the rule of law that had all but been eroded and to ensuring the separation of each arm of government. These are all important elements in any democratic dispensation. We we look forward to seeing a positive change in this regard. We urge the President and his government not to lose sight of the direction that have been charted in his inaugural speech to Parliament. This includes commitment to constitutional and legislative reform; expansion of the Bill of Rights; devolution of central government; decentralisation of power in the Presidency and particularly the wide powers of appointment that undermine the separation of powers; increased funding, enhanced operational independence and capabilities of public oversight institutions which provide necessary checks and balances; transparency; increased access to justice; safeguarding human rights and property; media freedom; access to information and supporting an active civil society.

Chapter One Foundation remains resolute in our stance to promote and protect human rights, constitutionalism, and the rule of law. We will continue to play our part in upholding the tenets of democracy by holding the government to the high standard set by His Excellency. As stated by the President, everyone needs to work together to address common challenges. This includes the civil society and ordinary citizens. It is our duty to firmly commit to the development of this great nation, to provide constructive criticism, to denounce attempts to unjustly limit the enjoyment and exercise of our human rights, to speak out against corrupt practice, to demolish the notion of “political elites” and to provide checks and balances. Actualising the theme of “creating a united, prosperous, and equitable Zambia and restoring economic growth and safeguarding livelihoods” will require the deliberate effort of all stakeholders. As shown by the deterioration of the state of democracy in Zambia over the previous ten years, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law are easily lost. Zambians must remain vigilant in the protection and defence of the human rights and democratic ideals that we hold dear.

Chapter One Foundation

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