FODEP has called on President Lungu to withhold his assent to the constitution amendment Bill until all concerned parties have agreed on the best way forward, says Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) president Shepherd Chilombe
Mr Chilombe said the electoral outlook for 2016 is uncertain due to the legal framework that will be used in next year’s election following the amendment of the constitution and pending assent by the President says Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP).
He said he was also of the view that the time remaining for the country to hold elections, was to make meaningful changes to the electoral laws to accommodate the electoral changes caused by some clauses in the amended constitution. Mr Chilombe said the amended constitution contained a number of clauses on elections, structure of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and the Judiciary which played a critical role in the holding of credible elections.
“Without clear guidance from the President, the ECZ will remain in limbo and fail to effectively guide the nation on the electoral processes ahead of the 2016 elections,’’ he said.
He explained that the ECZ had not stated whether the national referendum will be part of the election or whether or not the date in the amended constitution was what would be followed.
He said it was important that Government helped the nation understand if there will be meaningful electoral reforms in the remaining few months before election.
Mr Chilombe said Zambians should know that FODEP had started monitoring the electoral process and what had been revealed so far was worrying. On the constitution making process Mr Chilombe said FODEP noted that the process remained the most decisive national issue.
“The emergence of two fractions on the amended constitution by the parliament after long and viscous debate, advocacy and lobbying from both sides is worrying, ’he said.
He said FODEP supports recommendation by the parliamentary committee on legal affairs to withdraw the bill from parliament to allow further consultations. He also explained that it was with dismay that the public order act had continued to be abused by the police when it came to implementation.