A consortium of 21 civil society organizations has said that the Patriotic Front (PF) government has no choice but to enact a new constitution through a national referendum.
In a statement signed by 21 NGOs, the Civil Society organizations (CSOs) who were also participating in the National Constitution Convention (NCC) said that the only way to adopt the new constitution was through a referendum.
“We wish to commend the Technical Committee on drafting the National Constitution for holding this convention. The people of Zambia throughout the previous consultative processes and now the National Convention have decided that the new constitution should be adopted through a National Referendum so as to give the document legitimacy,” said the consortium.
The consortium said that it was imperative that a roadmap was provided so that stakeholders could begin to prepare their engagement in the various processes especially that of sensitizing citizens.
They saidit was their hope that government would make its position clear on the issue of the national Referendum.
“We know that we cannot put everything in the constitution, but we believe that this constitution should as much as possible capture the principles, values and ideals that we believe in as a people. We as CSOs look forward to a constitution that will speak to the rights, needs and aspirations of the Zambian people and ensure peace and unity and guarantee freedoms and protection for all citizens of this country,”
“We therefore appeal to the government, through the Minister of Justice, that as he comes to close this convention, he should give delegates, and the citizens of this country, a clear roadmap on what will happen after the Technical Committee completes its work on June 30 this year.”
Among the organizations that attended the meeting were ActionAid International Zambia, African Women Millennium Initiative in Zambia (AWOMIZ), Anti-Voter Apathy (AVAP), Church of God and the Citizen’s Forum.
Others were Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR), Hope for Human Rights, Infotainment Movement, Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR), Save the Children, Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) and Transparency International Zambia (TIZ).
Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign (TALC), The People’s Indaba; Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA), Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF), Zambia AIDSLaw Research and Advocacy Network (ZARAN), Zambia Civic Education Association (ZCEA), Zambia Community based Natural Resources Management Forum and Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA).
The rest are Zambian Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers (ZUFIAW/FFTUZ) and Zambia Women Media Association (ZAMWA).