The House of Chiefs should tell the nation how it accessed the final draft constitution which traditional leaders have rejected, says Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) executive director Borniface Chembe.
Chembe has asked the chiefs to explain the basis and source of their debates when the final draft constitution was not yet out.
He said there was no way the chiefs could reject the constitution when the final document has not been released.
Chembe said the chiefs should tell the nation where they got the draft constitution they were debating from.
“We are not clear where the debates are coming from, and what the objections from the chiefs are based on. Let them tell the nation if the draft constitution was released to them and if it was, they should release the document to all Zambians,” Chembe said.
He said the chiefs should share the document with all Zambians if the final copy was given to them.
Chembe said it was surprising that the chiefs had already started debating the document when government had made it clear that it had not yet received the draft constitution from the technical committee.
“It was only last week that the technical committee said that it was ready to release the constitution to President Sata but where did the chiefs get the document from, for them to start rejecting some articles which they claim are in the document,” he said.
Chembe said people can only start debating various articles which are in the draft constitution once the document was released to the public.
He said no person was in a position to reject some articles in the document until the technical committee has handed over the draft constitution to the President and the nation.
Chembe also said government should be open enough over the matter because there was no way that people could start debating a document they had not seen.
The House of Chiefs has resolved to reject the draft constitution which carries a clause they claim takes away their powers and rights over land and gives them to the President. Senior Chief Ntambo of Mwinilunga district, Paramount Chief Mpezeni of Chipata and Chief Jumbe of Malambo who were quoted in some sections of the local media as having rejected some clauses in the new constitution, but could not be immediately reached for their comments.