The Copperbelt Christian Ministers Consultative Forum has opposed the proposal by National Dialogue Forum (NDF) to reintroduce the position of deputy ministers.
The Forum also reaffirmed its commitment to the constitution-making process in the interest of national development and encourage those who are calling for the abandonment of the constitution-making process at this stage to consider the time and financial resources spent on the process.
Appearing before the Select Committee at Parliament in Lusaka, Monday, Head of the 52 clergy men and women Dr. Raddy Lewila encouraged those with different views to take advantage of the select committee of parliament for submissions as the process is yet to be concluded.
Dr. Lewila, who is the Copperbelt Christian Ministers Consultative Forum President, said Zambia is a relatively young democracy.
“Therefore, Zambia as a growing democracy cannot avoid the need to effect amendments to the Republican Constitution from time to time in her quest to come up with a Constitution that would stand the test of time.
In view of the foregoing, we wish to state our position as follows:
1. The need for Constitutional and Institutional Reforms is inevitable.
– Just like many citizens have expressed misgivings on the thoroughness of the current constitutional order, we acknowledge the need to have the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No.2 of 2016 amended so as to eliminate all the lacunas that were a source of the tension in the Country after the 2016 Presidential and general elections,” he added.
“We believe that the Constitutional Amendments would not only remedy the mischief arising from the numerous lacunas, but would also bring social order, certainty in the outcomes of court process, promote healing and civility in politics, hence the need to proceed with the Constitution amendments as contained in the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019.”
He said the forum strongly supports the amended Articles of the Constitution as regards the removal of the classification of the State as a “multi-religious” State, and that the proposed amendments made to the preamble.
“We are well aware that the current political tension existing in the Country is as a result of the ambiguities in the current Republican Constitution that has failed to deliver according to the aspirations of the people of Zambia thereby eroding their confidence.
“We wish to state from the onset that it has always been our deep desire to see that the people of Zambia enact a Constitution that they will call their own document as it would reflect the collective will of the people of this blessed Nation,” said Dr. Lewila.
“On this score, we further, wish to implore the Legislature to consider the obliteration of the words ” Multi-culture” from the current Republican Constitution as the practices that may flow from such a provision may be in conflict with our National Values and Principles.
“We believe that it would be imprudent to set aside the entire Constitution amendment process simply because certain sections of society hold divergent views on the matters espoused in the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No.10 of 2019.”
Dr. Lewila was of the view that setting aside the entire Constitution amendment process is akin to throwing away the baby together with bath water.
He said that would certainly be unreasonable and unwise for there are some progressive mile stones achieved in the NDF process and believed that when this process is successfully concluded, it would foster national development, peace and unity among the Zambian people.
“Some of the salient and progressive amendments to the current Constitution and other institutional reforms worth noting are as follows:
a) The amendment to the Constitution’s Preamble in order to reaffirm the Nation’s Christian identity and character;
b) The amendment aimed at revising the Principles and Values of the Constitution;
c) The amendment to provide for the inclusion of the marginalised groups of citizens such as the women, youths, and the disabled members of our society in Parliament;
d) The amendment to revise the period of hearing and determination of a Presidential election petition,” he said.
“e) The amendments to the Public Order Act, aimed at bringing civility in Politics; e.t.c
5. We further believe that the National Dialogue Forum (NDF) was on firm ground and magnanimous enough to have resolved to escalate the Declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation to be embodied or enshrined in Articles 4 and 8 of the Republican Constitution.
“Our humble submission is therefore as follows:
1. To maintain the status quo as regards the amendments made to the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016 by the National Dialogue Forum (NDF) which unanimously resolved to classify the State as a “Christian Nation” and consequently delete the phrases “multi-religious” and “multi-culture” from the Republican Constitution and replace it with “Christian Nation” wherever applicable as contained in the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019.”