Constitution may face funding hitches

Finding money for the Constitution Referendum would not be a difficult task for the Patriotic Front government considering the number of unbudgeted for programmes currently running under its support, says Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Council.

NGOCC board chairperson Beatrice Grillo said Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) were not worried with the inadequate funds allocation in the 2014 Budget because PF has always performed well under pressure.

“I am not worried about funds for the Referendum because PF has always found money for everything important.  We are not worried that there was no sufficient funding in the 2014 Budget. There was nowhere in the Budget for the Africa Cup jubilations which gobbled millions of Kwacha, as is the case with the multiple by-elections.  There was no way they could fail to find money for the National Referendum,” Grillo said.

She said the PF should not spoil their opportunity to make even with the Zambian people by providing a people driven constitution now, and wondered what the Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba was refereeing to ‘if’ when discussing the Referendum last week in Parliament.

Grillo said throughout the process, Zambian people have decided on a National Referendum as the only acceptable process to be used in the adoption of the New Constitution.

She said the fact that the draft went through all the stages with calls for a referendum meant that people’s wishes would only be met with a referendum.

We want to make sure that what is in the final draft is exactly what the people of Zambia decided, what they submitted at all the various level conventions,” Grillo said.

She explained that the process was long overdue and more delays would not be acceptable as the Zambian people have already decided on their Constitution.

“The people of Zambia have spoken and so there should be no doubts over the holding of a Referendum Even the ruling party itself has declared that they will do everything possible to provide for a people driven constitution, so it is a referendum,” she said.

We want to make sure that what is in the final draft is exactly what the people of Zambia decided, what they submitted at all the various level conventions,” Grillo said.

She explained that the process was long overdue and more delays would not be acceptable as the Zambian people have already decided on their Constitution.

Today Wednesday October 30, the Technical Committee drafting the New Constitution under the Chairmanship of Justice Annel Silungwe is expected to hand over the final draft to President Michael Sata and the people of Zambia simultaneously, exactly two years since the PF’s ascension to power with promises of a 90 days ultimatum for a Law of the Land.

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