It will be retrogressive to amend the amended Constitution to remove Grade 12 certificate as nomination qualification for elective political positions, stakeholders have said.
According to the new Constitution, the President had 21 days to study the document and within which he could have sent back to Parliament the clauses that he did not agree with for amendments.
President Edgar Lungu however opted to assent to the amended Constitution on January 5 this year after Parliament submitted the document to him in December last year.
But Chief government spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili said yesterday that government might consider revising the Grade 12 qualification as minimum qualification for those vying for elective positions.
Mr Kambwili said in an interview with ZNBC that Government may consider taking back to Parliament the Grade 12 certificate constitutional clause for revision.
He, however, stressed that this would be dependent on stakeholders reaching consensus includeing the opposition in Parliament.
The minister explained that the Grade 12 certificate constitutional clause was not about the Patriotic Front (PF) party but that it was about Government and the opposition reaching consensus.
But Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) President Andrew Ntewewe observed that such a decision would not serve the Zambian people well, as it would deny them development.
Mr. Ntewewe maintained that with the developed system of government, political leaders needed to possess academic qualifications that would enable them articulate developmental issues.
“Such plans are detrimental to national development as some leaders fail to effectively represent the Zambian people due to low levels of education, so it would be very retrogressive and will disadvantage the people of Zambia.
“Zambians need political leaders who are well abled to articulate issues; leaders who don’t have qualifications do not understand these issues, so they must have a minimum of Grade 12 certificate,” Mr. Ntewewe said.
And United Party for National Development (UPND) spokesperson Charles Kakoma said it was too late to make changes to a constitution that had already been enacted.
He said there were legal implications involved to make an amendment to the constitution.
Mr. Kakoma charged that government had enough time to make amendments to the constitution and that attempting to make changes now would not solve anything.
“The constitution is not a document that you enact today and the following day you change it, they had enough time to do that before it was assented and that time has passed,” he said. And MMD National Secretary Mwansa Mbulakulima said there was need for democracy to prevail in the matter.
Mr. Mbulakulima said the decision that political leaders must possess a minimum of Grade 12 certificate was made by the Zambians who should be the ones to decide whether to revise the constitution.
“As MMD, we believe in democracy, submissions were made at district, provincial and national level, Zambians are the ones who decided and they should be the ones to decide,” Mr. Mbulakulima said.