Grand Coalition targets Bill of Rights draft contents

By Nation Reporter

A  SIMPLIED version of the Bill of Rights to help more Zambians understand the contents before the national Referendum scheduled alongside the August 11 general elections is being prepared, the Grand Coalition on a people driven Constitution has revealed.

Grand Coalition chairperson Sara Longwe said they were working on translating the proposed Bill of Rights which they intend to distribute to members of the public to acquaint them with the content.

She said Grand Coalition member organisations were busy on the ground trying to find ways of educating the masses on the contents of the Bill of Right, but that it would only be possible to make people understand once the contents were translated in local language.

“As Grand Coalition, we are switching to the Bill of Rights as our main focus in this year’s General Election campaigns, to see if we can educate people on the contents of the proposed document before going for the Referendum.

“Our hope was that the National Referendum is not tied to a partisan event such as an election, as it is a national programme. It should have been treated as a separate event from a partisan programme,” Ms Longwe said.

The Bill of Rights lays down and guarantees fundamental rights and privileges of individuals, including freedom of religion, speech and the press, and the right of assembly for the people.

It also guarantees speedy jury trial in criminal cases and protection against excessive treatment, cruel and unusual punishment for citizens and other people.

The Bill of Rights also addresses Public Order and Writ of Habeas Corpus which protects against unlawful imprisonment.

President Edgar Lungu announced earlier this year that the National Referendum would be held alongside the August 11 2016 General Elections and that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) shall also be the National Referendum Commission.

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