ZAMBIA DRAFT CONSTITUTION OUT!

Note that the actual draft constitution can be found at
Zambian Consitution

SPEECH DELIVERED BY HON. JUSTICE ANNEL M. SILUNGWE, CHAIRPERSON OF THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE ON DRAFTING THE ZAMBIAN CONSTITUTION, AT THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS ON THE CONSTITUTION-MAKING PROCESS AND WEBSITE OF THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE ON 30TH APRIL, 2012, AT THE NEW GOVERNMENT COMPLEX CONFERENCE CENTRE
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ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA
SECRETARY TO CABINET
CLERK OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
CHIEF ADMINISTRATOR
CHAIRPERSON OF THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF ZAMBIA
CHAIRPERSON OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS
SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
REPRESENTATIVES OF POLITICAL PARTIES
REPRESENTATIVES OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS
DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

I AM PLEASED TO STAND BEFORE YOU TODAY TO LAUNCH THE PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON THE CONSTITUTION-MAKING PROCESS AND THE WEBSITE OF THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE ON DRAFTING THE ZAMBIAN CONSTITUTION. AS CHAIRPERSON OF THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE, I FEEL A GREAT SENSE OF JOY AND RELIEF THAT, AFTER LONG HOURS OF WORK BY THE MEMBERS OF THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE, THE LEGISLATIVE DRAFTSPERSONS AND THE ENTIRE SECRETARIAT, WE HAVE A PRODUCT ON WHICH TO BASE OUR ON-GOING CONSULTATIONS.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

YOU MAY RECALL THAT THE JOURNEY TO PROVIDE ZAMBIA WITH A CONSTITUTION, THAT WOULD STAND THE TEST OF TIME, STARTED SLIGHTLY MORE THAN TWO DECADES AGO. IT IS MY HOPE THAT THE CONCLUSION OF THIS JOURNEY IS NOW IN SIGHT. YOU MAY RECALL THAT THE COMMITTEE WAS APPOINTED ON 16TH NOVEMBER, 2011, BY HIS EXCELLENCY, THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA, MR. MICHAEL CHILUFYA SATA. THE COMMITTEE COMMENCED ITS WORK ON 1ST DECEMBER, 2011, AND THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION, WHICH IS ACCOMPANYING TODAY’S LAUNCH OF THE CONSULTATIVE PROCESS, IS THE RESULT OF THE WORK OF THE COMMITTEE THAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED SO FAR.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

IT IS IMPORTANT FOR US ALL TO UNDERSTAND THE DOCUMENT WE ARE AVAILING TO THE NATION TODAY. THIS IS THE FIRST DRAFT WHICH WILL BE FOLLOWED BY A SECOND DRAFT, AFTER THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE HAS RECEIVED COMMENTS FROM THE PEOPLE THROUGH CONVENTIONS. I WISH TO EMPHASISE THAT UP UNTIL FORMALLY ADOPTED, THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE’S WORK CAN ONLY RESULT IN DRAFTS. THEY ARE CALLED DRAFTS BECAUSE THEY ARE TO BE DISCUSSED AND ENDORSED BY THE PEOPLE. WHAT OUR DRAFTS SAY CAN BE ACCEPTED, REJECTED OR VARIED BY THE PEOPLE BEFORE COMING UP WITH THE FINAL PRODUCT. SO, IN READING THE FIRST DRAFT CONSTITUTION, DO NOT FEEL BOUND, CONSTRAINED OR ORDERED TO THINK AND REACT IN ANY PARTICULAR MANNER. I WOULD LIKE TO STRESS THAT THE DOCUMENT IS BUT A DRAFT AND IT IS FOR THIS REASON THAT I AM LAUNCHING A CONSULTATIVE PROCESS AND NOT A CONSTITUTION.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE WAS DIRECTED, IN ITS TERMS OF REFERENCE, TO CONSIDER ALL PREVIOUS WORK OF THE CONSTITUTION-MAKING PROCESS, DATING BACK FROM 1991 TO DATE.

IN LINE WITH THE TERMS OF REFERENCE, THE COMMITTEE HAS EXAMINED PREVIOUS CONSTITUTION REVIEW COMMISSION REPORTS AND DRAFT CONSTITUTIONS, TO IDENTIFY AND ADOPT PROVISIONS THAT REFLECT THE VALUES AND ASPIRATIONS OF THE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA.

TODAY, ON BEHALF OF THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE, I AM PRESENTING A DRAFT CONSTITUTION THAT PROMOTES PEACE, NATIONAL UNITY AND INTEGRITY OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA.

THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION HAS PROVISIONS THAT ESTABLISH A FREE AND DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT, WHICH GUARANTEES GOOD GOVERNANCE, CONSTITUTIONALISM, THE RULE OF LAW, HUMAN RIGHTS, GENDER EQUITY, GENDER EQUALITY AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION.

THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION HAS PROVIDED FOR THE PEOPLES’ PARTICIPATION IN THE GOVERNANCE OF THE COUNTRY THROUGH DEMOCRATIC, FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS AND THE DEVOLUTION AND EXERCISE OF POWER.

DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

ONE PROMINENT FEATURE OF THE FIRST DRAFT CONSTITUTION IS THAT IT HAS ENDEAVOURED TO ENSURE THAT THE NATIONAL STRUCTURES OF GOVERNANCE ARE INCLUSIVE AND DEVOLVED TO PROVINCIAL AND DISTRICT LEVELS.

ANOTHER FEATURE THAT YOU WILL NOTICE IS THAT THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION HAS PROVIDED FOR THE SEPARATION OF POWERS AMONGST THE VARIOUS STATE ORGANS INCLUDING THE EXECUTIVE, THE JUDICIARY AND THE LEGISLATURE. THIS IS TO CREATE CHECKS AND BALANCES BETWEEN THEM AND TO ENSURE ACCOUNTABILITY OF THE STATE AND ITS OFFICERS TO THE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA.

ONE SIGNIFICANT FEATURE, TO ENHANCE SEPARATION OF POWERS, IS THAT A PROVISION HAS BEEN MADE FOR CABINET MINISTERS TO BE APPOINTED FROM OUTSIDE THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY. THIS FEATURE EMANATES FROM THE NEARLY UNANIMOUS AND PERSISTENT CALLS BY THE PEOPLE WHO SUBMITTED ON THE SUBJECT DURING THE PREVIOUS CONSTITUTION REVIEW COMMISSIONS. THIS WAS PARTICULARLY MORE PRONOUNCED DURING THE MUNG’OMBA CONSTITUTION REVIEW COMMISSION.

IN LINE WITH ITS TERMS OF REFERENCE, THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE HAS MADE EVERY EFFORT TO DRAFT A CONSTITUTION THAT ENSURES THAT EXCESSIVE AND UNFETTERED POWERS ARE NOT GIVEN TO ANY PARTICULAR ORGAN OF THE STATE, COMMISSION OR CONSTITUTIONAL FUNCTIONARY.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

YOU MAY WISH TO KNOW THAT THIS DRAFT CONSTITUTION HAS INCORPORATED SOCIAL, ECONOMIC, CULTURAL, RELIGIOUS AND ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS.

THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION HAS FURTHER INCORPORATED A DEMOCRATIC ELECTORAL SYSTEM THAT WILL ENHANCE REPRESENTATION OF THE VARIOUS GROUPS IN SOCIETY, AN ELECTORAL PROCESS THAT IS FREE AND FAIR WITH A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD AND AN ELECTORAL ENVIRONMENT THAT WOULD MINIMISE ELECTORAL MALPRACTICES.

IN THIS DRAFT CONSTITUTION, WE HAVE ENHANCED THE EFFICACY, CAPACITY AND INDEPENDENCE OF THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF ZAMBIA IN ORDER TO ENSURE CREDIBILITY IN THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM AND PROCESS.

WE HAVE FURTHER PROVIDED FOR A DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED LOCAL GOVERNMENT SYSTEM THAT INCORPORATES EFFECTIVE CHECKS AND BALANCES. IN ADDITION, WE HAVE PROVIDED FOR PROVINCIAL ASSEMBLIES.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

ALLOW ME TO SHARE WITH YOU SOME OF THE SPECIFIC SALIENT FEATURES OF THE FIRST DRAFT CONSTITUTION.

THE CONSTITUTION OPENS WITH A PREAMBLE WHICH ESPOUSES THE VALUES THAT THE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA ASPIRE FOR AND WHICH VALUES PERMEATE THROUGH THE PROVISIONS OF THE ENTIRE CONSTITUTION.

WE HAVE MADE PROVISION FOR DUAL CITIZENSHIP, AS A RESPONSE TO THE EXPECTATIONS OF THE ZAMBIAN PEOPLE IN THE DIASPORA.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

YOU WILL ALSO NOTICE THAT THE BILL OF RIGHTS, WHICH WE HAVE HAD SINCE INDEPENDENCE, HAS BEEN BROADENED BY THE INTRODUCTION OF MORE RIGHTS FOR WOMEN, CHILDREN, YOUTH, PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AND OLDER MEMBERS OF SOCIETY.

THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION HAS BEEN STRENGTHENED BY PROVIDING IT WITH POWERS TO REDRESS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IF AND WHEN THEY OCCUR.

THE PROVISIONS ON THE ELECTION OF THE PRESIDENT HAVE BEEN DIRECTED TOWARDS A MAJORITY PRESIDENT, WHO OBTAINS AT LEAST 50% PLUS 1 VOTE OF THE VALID VOTES CAST.

YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED TO KNOW THAT THE FIRST DRAFT CONSTITUTION HAS PROVIDED FOR AN ELECTED VICE-PRESIDENT, WHO SHALL ASCEND TO OFFICE AS A RUNNING-MATE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.

DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

THE FIRST DRAFT CONSTITUTION HAS ALSO PROVIDED FOR A PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION SYSTEM OF ELECTING MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT. THIS SYSTEM WILL ELIMINATE THE HOLDING OF BY-ELECTIONS, WHICH ARE A DRAIN ON THE COUNTRY’S RESOURCES AND TIME. IN ADDITION, THE SYSTEM IS FAIRER IN TERMS OF REPRESENTATION IN PARLIAMENT IN THAT THE CHOICE OF THE PEOPLE IS REFLECTED IN THE ELECTION RESULTS.

IN ORDER TO ENHANCE THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE AND TO RESPOND TO DEMANDS BY STAKEHOLDERS TO PREVIOUS CONSTITUTION REVIEW COMMISSIONS, THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION HAS PROVIDED FOR A CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. THIS COURT IS A SPECIAL COURT HANDLING MATTERS OF HUMAN RIGHTS, GOVERNANCE AND ELECTIONS, AMONG OTHER RELATED MATTERS.

IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN AND UPHOLD THE DIGNITY OF THE INSTITUTION OF CHIEFTAINCY AND ENABLE IT TO IMPARTIALLY DISCHARGE ITS FUNCTIONS, ESPECIALLY IN THE DEVOLVED SYSTEM OF GOVERNANCE, THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION PROHIBITS THE INVOLVEMENT OF CHIEFS IN ACTIVE PARTISAN POLITICS.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

IT IS NOT MY INTENTION TO PRE-EMPT THE CONTENTS OF THE FIRST DRAFT CONSTITUTION BUT JUST TO HIGHLIGHT WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT. WHAT I HAVE HIGHLIGHTED IS JUST A SUMMARY.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

WITH THIS RELEASE OF THE FIRST DRAFT CONSTITUTION, THE NEXT STEP IS FOR THE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA TO COMMENT ON IT AND CONFIRM WHETHER IT REFLECTS THEIR WISHES AND ASPIRATIONS.

THE COMMITTEE WILL ENSURE THAT AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE HAVE ACCESS TO THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION. THE DOCUMENT HAS BEEN PRINTED AND HAS BEEN PUT ON CD AS WELL AS ON THE WEBSITE OF THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE. THE FIRST DRAFT CONSTITUTION WILL ALSO BE PLACED AS INSERTS, IN THE THREE MAIN DAILY NEWSPAPERS FOR A REASONABLE FREQUENCY. FURTHER, THE COMMITTEE IS ALSO PRODUCING AN AUDIO VERSION OF THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION, TO ASSIST THOSE WHO MAY NOT BE ABLE TO READ.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE FURTHER UNDERTAKES TO PRODUCE A SIMPLIFIED VERSION OF THE FIRST DRAFT CONSTITUTION, WHICH WILL BE TRANSLATED INTO THE SEVEN MAJOR LOCAL LANGUAGES. IN ADDITION, LARGE-PRINT COPIES AND BRAILLE VERSIONS OF THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE TO ASSIST THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CONSTITUTION-MAKING PROCESS.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

MY COMMITTEE WOULD LIKE TO ENCOURAGE ALL CITIZENS TO ORGANISE THEMSELVES TO REVIEW THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION FROM THE COMMUNITY LEVEL THROUGH SCHOOLS, CHURCHES NEIGHBOURHOOD ASSOCIATIONS, SOCIAL CLUBS OR ANY OTHER GROUP, IN ORDER TO PROVIDE COMMENTS ON THE DRAFT.

MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC WILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SUBMIT THEIR COMMENTS BY POSTING ON THE WEBSITE OR BY WRITING TO THE SECRETARIAT OF THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE.

COMMENTS MAY ALSO BE SUBMITTED BY PLACING THEM IN BOXES, WHICH WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR THIS PURPOSE AT THE OFFICES OF THE SECRETARIAT OF THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE AND AT NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CONSTITUENCY OFFICES IN ALL THE PROVINCES.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

I WISH TO MENTION THAT THERE WILL ALSO BE MANAGED PROCESSES OF COMMENTING ON THE FIRST DRAFT CONSTITUTION. THIS WILL BE BY PARTICIPATING IN DISTRICT CONSULTATIVE FORA, PROVINCIAL, SECTOR GROUPS AND NATIONAL CONVENTIONS. GUIDELINES WILL BE DISSEMINATED TO THAT EFFECT.

LET ME MENTION THAT, AT COMMUNITY LEVEL, THE DISCUSSION FORA WILL BE SELF-ORGANISED. AT DISTRICT LEVEL, THERE WILL BE FORMAL CONSULTATIVE FORA; AND AT PROVINCIAL LEVEL, EACH PROVINCE WILL HOLD A CONVENTION. IN ADDITION, THERE WILL BE A SECTOR GROUPS CONVENTION. THE TIME-FRAME AND PROCEDURE OF SUBMITTING COMMENTS WILL BE EXPLAINED FURTHER IN THE PRESS AND THROUGH CONSULTATIVE MEETINGS.

ON COMPLETION OF THESE PROCESSES, THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE WILL RE-CONVENE TO CONSIDER THE COMMENTS MADE AND PREPARE THE SECOND DRAFT CONSTITUTION WHICH WILL BE VALIDATED BY ANOTHER REPRESENTATIVE GROUP – THE NATIONAL CONVENTION. THE FINAL DRAFT CONSTITUTION WILL THEN BE PREPARED AND SUBMITTED TO HIS EXCELLENCY, THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA AND SIMULTANEOUSLY, TO THE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE WILL KEEP THE NATION INFORMED OF ANY FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS, IN THE ON-GOING CONSTITUTION-MAKING PROCESS, THROUGH THE MEDIA AND CONSULTATIVE MEETINGS, IN ORDER TO ENSURE THAT THE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA EFFECTIVELY PARTICIPATE IN DRAFTING THE CONSTITUTION.

I NOW OFFICIALLY LAUNCH THE PUBLIC CONSULTATIVE PROCESS AND THE WEBSITE OF THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE.

I THANK YOU

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