NCC drops ‘1st degree’ clause
The National Constitution Conference (NCC) has unanimously agreed to
drop from the draft constitution the clause, which demands that a presidential
candidate should possess a first degree from a recognised university.
conference resolved to reverse its earlier decision after debating submissions
from members of the public.
Some 239 members of the public made
submissions on the first-degree clause out of which 182 rejected the
The conference resolved that the current status quo in the
current constitution be maintained.
The current requirement for a
presidential candidate is any person who can read and write.
Mung’omba draft constitution proposed that a presidential candidate should
posses a grade 12 certificate while the NCC had earlier adopted a university
Vice-President George Kunda urged the
conference to drop the university degree clause describing it as a ‘bad
Mr Kunda said the clause was well articulated by members of the
public who rejected it.
He said he agrees with the petitioners against
the clause and that there was need to maintain the current status quo.
think this is a bad clause and we should remove it because it was well
articulated by those who opposed it and I agree with them that we should remove
it,” he said.
Commissioner Divo Katete said there was need to delete the
degree clause because it is discriminatory.
Mr Katete said currently, a
number of Zambians are unable to access university education due to limited
space and financial resources.
He said college institutions, which mostly
offer diploma courses have out numbered universities hence a number of Zambians,
are unable to acquire degrees.
“We have a number of intelligent people
but they fail to enroll at universities such as the University of Zambia (UNZA)
because of inadequate financial resources.
“We have many of our people
who have ended up with diploma certificates because colleges have out-numbered
universities and so I think we should reflect on this and I am for maintaining
the current status quo,” he said.
Commissioner Njekwa Anamela said it was
important for the conference to revisit its earlier decision following public
outcry to drop the clause.
“I think we need to revisit this issue of
degree clause because of the tension it has caused and having listened to many
voices outside NCC, I think we should listen to what the majority Zambians
want,” Mr Anamela said.
Chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo II said she
supports the comments from the public that petitioned the removal of the degree
She said members of the public never brought the degree clause
but that it is the conference which initiated it.
Sibetta said there was need for the conference to compromise on some of its
earlier decisions to allow the will of the people to prevail.
we should compromise on this one and allow the will of the people to prevail and
after all, the degree requirement of a presidential candidate cannot guarantee
bread on the tables of Zambians,” Mr Sibetta said.
Chileshe said there was need for the conference to unite Zambians by dropping
“We have a duty to unite the nation and so there is need to
revisit this particular clause,” Bishop Chileshe said.
And about 103
members of the public submitted comments on the 50 percent-plus-one clause for a
Although 87 supported the article, the NCC could
not deliberate it because it had earlier referred it to a referendum.
NCC chairperson, Chifumu Banda said all the clauses that have been referred to
the referendum will be handled by the Electoral Commission of Zambia
Mr Banda said it is the responsibility of the ECZ to sanction
voting on the articles that have been referred to the referendum.
responding to concerns by some NCC members who wanted to know when a referendum
will be held for certain articles.
And the conference has maintained that
ministers must be appointed from members of Parliament.
This was after
members rejected a proposal from some members of the public that sought the
President to appoint ministers from outside the National Assembly.
conference has also maintained that the President shall appoint his
It was also agreed that the President shall not have dual
citizenship and this will apply to a person holding vice-presidency.
the NCC has agreed to reverse its earlier decision where it suggested that the
number of directly elected members of Parliament be increased from 150 to 240
and included 30 seats on the basis of proportional representation, 10 nominated
and one for the speaker. This came to a total of 281.
But some members of
the conference felt that the proposed increase in the number of constituencies
was too much to be achieved by Government.
Commissioner Mkhondo Lungu
said the increase in the number of seats was exorbitant hence the need to
consider a reduction.
Mr Lungu said the conference, however, needed to
come up with a methodology on the delimitation of constituencies that are
Commissioner Michael Mabenga, who supported a reduction in the
number, said vast rural constituencies should seriously be considered for
Mr Mabenga cited Mulobezi, his constituency as being vast
and required delimitation.
Commissioner Sylvia Masebo suggested that the
NCC considers adopting available statistics on the delimitation of
constituencies as recommended by ECZ.
In 2004, ECZ estimation was that some
constituencies needed to be delimitated from 150 to 225.
Vice-President supported Commissioner Masebo’s suggestion, taking into
consideration the population growth.
Commissioner Daniel Munkombwe said
there is need to build capacity in the current members of Parliament.
Munkombwe said lack of adequate logistics is making it difficult for some MPs to
manage their constituencies.