IT WOULD be cost effective to enact the new Constitution in a phased manner as it has been proposed by Government, People’s Party president Mike Mulongoti has said.
He said it was strange that some stakeholders were rejecting that non-contentious clauses such as the 50+1 percent for a presidential winner and a running mate should go through amendments.
Mr Mulongoti said it would be time consuming and costly to demand that non-contentious clauses in the Draft Constitution should be taken to the referendum when they could be passed through an amendment bill in Parliament.
He told the Daily Nation that he did not understand why some stakeholders were against Government proposed piecemeal amendments which would see the country go to the general elections with the 50+1 percent and running mate clauses in the new Constitution.
Mr Mulongoti stated that he was in agreement with Government’s proposed phased approach in enacting the Constitution so that contentious clauses such as the Bill of Rights could be taken to the referendum.
He said he could not understand why some people were against Parliament enacting the new Constitution which he said would give chance to Members of Parliament to debate the document and make amendments where it would be necessary.
Mr Mulongoti said the advantage of using Parliament to make amendments to the Constitution was that the MPs would have a chance on the floor of the House to compel the Minister of Justice to make amendments to clauses that would be controversial.
He said that he was at a loss that the 50+1 percent which was a majoritarian system of electing a president was now being opposed to go to Parliament so that Zambia could hold the next general elections under the new electoral law.
“I do not see the problem with Government’s proposal that we could have a new Constitution in a phased manner.
We also do not have any quarrels with the referendum but may be the timing. Some people say holding the referendum simultaneously with elections is cost effective and I agree with that. But I am at a loss why there has been resistance that non-contentious clauses such as the 50+1 percent which is a majoritarian system of electing a president should be amended by Parliament.
Zambians have always agreed on this one and the running mate and it would make us go to the general elections next year with these clauses in the Constitution,” Mr Mulongoti said.
He explained that the first past the post system would not give political parties that would be competing in the elections next year a second chance to be voted for if the contenders failed to amass more than 50+1 percent of the vote.