STRIDES aimed at ensuring that all citizens are adequately represented are welcome, Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) vice president Kalungu Sampa has said.
Mr Sampa said this during submissions to the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights, Gender Matters and Child Affairs on Wednesday this week.
The committee, which is chaired by United Party for National Development (UPND) member of Parliament Jack Mwiimbu, is currently receiving submissions from stakeholders on the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill number 6 of 2015 which seeks to increase the number of constituencies from the current 150 to 156.
Mr Sampa said TIZ welcomed the amendment bill because the number of districts in the country had been increased and as such the move would promote inclusiveness.
“Considering that this amendment is as a result of the fact that there are now more districts and provinces which need representation in the National Assembly, and bearing in mind that we are an organisation that believes in the promotion of an inclusive government that represents the will of its people and what they stand for, we welcome this amendment,” Mr Sampa said.
He, however, said the country might face financial difficulties with regard to increasing the number of constituencies.
This was after Patriotic Front (PF) Kabwe Central member of Parliament James Kapyanga wanted to know whether Government should borrow funds to cater for the delimitation process.
Mr Sampa told the committee that TIZ recognised the fact that in as much as the country needed equal representation, issues of the huge budget deficit resulting from increased foreign debt posed a serious hindrance to such progressive Bills.
He said TIZ was not in any way encouraging the country to borrow funds from outside but were merely appreciating the positive impact the move to increase constituencies could have on the lives of Zambians.
“In as much as we are happy with the move to have equal representation of all citizens, the country may suffer financial challenges due to the huge deficit that has come as a result of an increase in foreign debt,” Mr Sampa said.
The TIZ vice president called on members of Parliament to engage and sensitise people on the importance of such an undertaking if the programme was to be appreciated.
He told the committee that sudden changes attracted different reactions hence the need to adequately tell people what the changes meant so as to make them understand and appreciate the positives that would come out of them.
Meanwhile, TIZ told the Jack Mwiimbu led committee that the best way to deal with the Constitution was to have a complete overhaul.
He said this could help in achieving the reflections of what the people wanted.
Mr Sampa said partial amendments have not helped achieve desired results.
He told the parliamentarians that not all Zambians understood issues of the Constitution at the moment.
“Not all Zambians understand the Constitution at the moment. Before dialogue on the same matter, the civil society had a different view but now that we have engaged in dialogue there is need for all of us to understand certain dimensions that might have come up,” he said.