Find us on Google+

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Constitution Bill (Amendment) 2010 Series

Today we start a series of posts on the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill 2010 (“the Bill”). Before we do that it is worth setting out the purpose for this series; what it is; and ,what it is not.

The purpose of the series is to review the main parts of the proposed Bill and respond formally to the Legislature. Parliament has been tasked with taking this forward on behalf of the people. The discussions which will take place on this website on the various aspects of the the Bill will be collated in form of a letter to the Speaker and the leaders of the various parties in the House. As I have previously noted, unlike other proposed acts of Parliament, we actually have a bit of time. From what I understand the next steps is for Parliament to constitute a special committee that will go through the Bill with a toothcomb. Some bits may be changed / modified etc. So though it is difficult to predict the outcome, I hold that it is rational to respond.

Regular readers will know that we sided with those whorejected the constitutional process from the beginning for reasons well documented. Some may therefore be surprised that this response is being developed. Let me make it clear. Responding to the Bill is not an endorsement of the failed approach of the National Constitution Conference. Nor is an endorsement of the elite that control the levers of power in our country and have forced through these proposals. Nor is it an endorsement of the money wasted in putting the Bill together. Nor are we in any way legitimising a draft Bill that clearly lacks any democratic legitimacy in the eyes of the people for well established reasons.

What we, and other citizens who will respond, are doing is simple fulfilment of our civic duties. I hold that now that the proposals are before the House, it is our duty as God fearing citizens to respond on behalf of ourselves, but most especially the voiceless in our society. There are many people who have been disenfranchised in our society through this flawed process. It would be even more shameful if we fail to side with them ensure their voices are reflected. I do not know whether responding will make any difference, but I believe it is our duty as citizens to respond to proposed Bill and seek to do what we can to influence dialogue. The response is therefore merely intended not as endorsement of the process but as a fulfilment of a God given mandate to engage in the affairs of our country by doing all we can to promote the advancement of a just order.

With that out of the way, a bit about the approach. We shall endeavour to work through the Bill part by part. There are many parts of varying length and complexity. The aim will be to keep posts short, accessible and if possible dish them out on a daily basis. All the posts will be collated on the “constitution page” for ease of reference.The response letter to the Legislature will take on board comments received from each post.

May the fun begin!

No comments:

Post a Comment

All contributors should follow the basic principles of a productive dialogue: communicate their perspective, ask, comment, respond,and share information and knowledge, but do all this with a positive approach.

This is a friendly website. However, if you feel compelled to comment 'anonymously', you are strongly encouraged to state your location / adopt a unique nick name so that other commentators/readers do not confuse your comments with other individuals also commenting anonymously.