|EFZ Executive Director
The Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) says the Barotseland Agreement, if well handled,
can be used as a basis for decentralisation and devolution of power not only in
Western Province but all regions of the country.
Releasing the state of
the nation report yesterday, EFZ executive director Reverend Pukuta Mwanza said
the primary concerns of the people of the Western Province seemed to be those of
development and the government should ensure that there was equitable
distribution of resources to promote uniform development in the
He said the government should initiate dialogue with the
Barotseland Royal Establishment and other stakeholders and make its position
known and ensure that the matter was conclusively and peacefully
Rev Mwanza further said the government may be justified in
taking a different position on the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement
looking at the implications of the move.
He, however, expressed concern
that the report had not yet been made public from the time it was submitted to
“We recognise that the issue of Barotseland was raised
during the campaign before the September 2011 tripartite elections and this
raised a lot of expectations among the general public. Realising the
implications for the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement, the government
may be justified in taking a different position on the matter,” Rev Mwanza
He said the original Barotseland
Agreement, if well handled, could be used as a basis for decentralisation
and devolution of power not only in Western Province but all the regions of the
country, thereby fostering national development.
And Rev Mwanza proposed
for the setting up of a truth and justice commission that will, among other
things, offer amnesty to the people that may have engaged in corrupt practices
to surrender themselves and be offered concessions for their openness.
said in order to be effective, the fight against corruption must not be
selective and should not appear to be targeted at specific high-profile
individuals or politicians alone who served in the previous government, but
should instead include the civil service and persons in the current government
and other institutions.
On the re-alignment of districts and the creation
of an additional province, Rev Mwanza said this should be preceded by a
comprehensive survey conducted by the Surveyor General's office to ensure that
such new districts have been properly described in accordance with the
He counselled the government to carry out wider
consultations with all stakeholders, including traditional leaders in order to
ensure transparency and consensus in the process.
“The re-alignment of
the districts should not be done unilaterally and in haste because this may have
far-reaching implications on traditional leaders and their subjects who would be
affected by such decisions,” he said.
On child defilement and
gender-based violence, Rev Mwanza said EFZ was deeply saddened by the rising and
frequent number of cases of defilement and child abuse in the country.
said just like the abuse of children, the number of gender-based violence cases
has been on the increase countrywide.
“We have seen despicable cruelty
against our womenfolk in the country by their male counterparts. We are deeply
grieved by the rampant abuse of women that have combined rape, physical abuse
and murder. This continued brutality against our women is uncalled for and we
urge the government, through its assigned law enforcement agencies, to tighten
the law on gender-based violence to ensure that there is justice for our women,”
On education, Rev Mwanza said the degeneration of Zambia's
education system in general and the inadequacy of infrastructure in higher
institutions of learning in particular were worrying.
He said the
pass-rate at the school certificate level still remained very low.
Mwanza noted with sadness the current deplorable conditions at the University of
He said the over-enrolment in public institutions needed to be
addressed as this exerts a lot of pressure on the limited resources and
infrastructure such as bed space, water, library resources and lecture
Rev Mwanza said the optimal ratio between the number of
students and the needed resources had increased, leading to the quality of
education being compromised.
He urged the government to quickly mobilise
the required funds to improve the education sector and restore the image of the
tertiary institutions of learning.
On the constitutional process, Rev
Mwanza said there was a danger that if the constitution is not widely accepted,
it would lack the credibility to stand the test of time.
He said the
process of developing a constitution that later becomes rejected by the majority
of the people would be a mere misuse of the national resources.
Mwanza said although the EFZ was not in the current technical team of experts
that was formed to draft a new constitution, they felt duty-bound to offer their
objective contributions to the constitution-making process for the common good
of the country.
He said having scrutinised the terms of reference of the
technical committee on the drafting of the new constitution, EFZ welcomed the
published roadmap towards the realisation of a people-driven
Rev Mwanza said the lack of a legal framework to back the
work that had been assigned to the technical committee on the drafting of the
new constitution was a concern as it subjected the whole process to the whims of
He also said the reasons advanced for the postponement
of the production of the first constitution draft which, was earlier scheduled
for the end of February 2012, were understandable, and supported the adoption of
the constitution through the referendum.
Rev Mwanza called on the
government to amend the Referendum Act which he said was outdated in its current
He also opposed the proposed route of referring the draft
constitution to international experts as there were sufficient local experts to
confirm the aptness of the wishes of Zambians within the current context of
their collective and united journey politically, economically, socially,
culturally and spiritually.
And Rev Mwanza proposed the inclusion of the
50-percent-plus-one vote clause for the election of the Republican president in
the country's Constitution, saying the election of a popular president helps to
promote unity in the country.
“…And in case of a petition against the
results of the presidential elections, the winning candidate should not be sworn
in until the petition has been heard and the case has been disposed of…,” he
Rev Mwanza also said the date for presidential and parliamentary
elections should be enshrined in the constitution and made a public
He further recommended clear independence and autonomy of each
of the three arms of the government.
“Separation of powers between the
three organs of the government, namely Executive, Judiciary and Legislature, is
crucial for their effectiveness. Interference by any one of these organs in the
jurisdiction of any of the others undermines the legitimacy of the institution
and affects the level of trust and confidence by the general public,” said Rev