‘Constitution before 2011’
Government has announced that there will be a new Constitution before
the 2011 general elections.
Vice-President George Kunda has, however,
said contentious issues subject to a referendum may not be part of the new
He was speaking at a press briefing in Lusaka
Mr Kunda said the country will substantially have a new
Constitution, excluding those provisions which require a referendum.
announced that Cabinet has decided to publish in the government gazette the
Constitution of Zambia Bill 2010 and the Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill
2010 as required under Article 79 of the Constitution of Zambia.
it is the requirement of Article 79(2)(A) of the Constitution of Zambia that a
bill for the alteration of the Constitution or the Constitution of Zambia Act
should be published in the gazette for at least 30 days before the first reading
of the bill in the National Assembly.
Mr Kunda said this means that the
enactment process of those provisions of the draft Constitution, which do not
require a referendum, has begun.
He said the draft bills will be
available at the Government Printing Department starting next week. The draft
bills will be presented before the National Assembly for enactment after the
expiry of the 30-day period.
Mr Kunda said the draft bills have preserved
Part iii (Bill of Rights) and Article 79 itself of the current Constitution
because these provisions require a referendum to be changed.
words, these provisions have remained intact as per the current Constitution and
have not been tampered with. What we have decided to do is in line with
decisions of the NCC and the will of the people of Zambia,” he said.
Kunda said once the bills have been published for 30 days, they will be tabled
before Parliament for first reading by February 2011.
And asked whether
the referendum will be held before the 2011 general elections, Mr Kunda said
Government will have to decide through Cabinet, because there are cost
“Government has not yet reached a decision; we have to
present it to Cabinet. We are already spending billions of Kwacha on the census
exercise, and we have elections next year, so we really have to reflect upon it
as Cabinet and the Zambian people as well,” he said.
Constitutional Conference established under the National Constitutional
Conference Act number 19 of 2007 concluded its deliberations and rendered its
report and draft Constitution to Mr Kunda, who is also Minister of Justice, on
August 27, 2010.
At the conclusion of its deliberation, the NCC decided
to follow a two-pronged approach which entailed presenting to Parliament a draft
for enactment of those provisions of the draft Constitution which did not
require a referendum and to submit to a referendum draft bill for any alteration
of Part iii and Article 79 of the Constitution and any provisions of the draft
Constitution in respect of which there was no agreement or consensus at the
Meanwhile, Mr Kunda has said security agencies have continued
to engage neighbouring countries in a bid to maintain law and order.
have also continued to engage neighbouring countries through diplomatic
channels. I can say here that we enjoy good relations with neighbouring
countries,” he said.
Mr Kunda was reacting to reports that Zambians had
their houses burnt on land between the Zambian border and Malawi.