Tuesday, 15 March 2011


MISA Zambia today (March 15) submitted before the Parliamentary Select Committee to scrutinise the Constitution of Zambia Bill N.A.B No. 59 of 2010 and the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill N.A.B. No. 60 of 2010, that it was unacceptable for Zambia to fail in its attempt to give itself a durable constitution within 47 years of independence.
And MISA Zambia submitted that a winning presidential candidate should not get less than 50 % plus 1 vote of the total votes cast.
In its written submission, MISA Zambia noted that the legitimacy of any constitution was measured by its ability to command loyalty, respect and confidence of the people.
“It is unacceptable that Zambia, which is a peaceful nation with a stable government and without any internal strife, is now attempting to give itself a 5th Constitution in a short space of 47 years of independence and lamentably failing to achieve a durable Constitution,” read the submission in part.
MISA Zambia observed that the Bill of Rights was not part of the Constitution Bill.
“Indeed we are alive to the need for a referendum as required by Article 79 (3).  MISA-Zambia finds this to be a draw back in the constitutional review process, especially with regards to provisions relating to the media. A number of positive recommendations were made in the National Constitution Conference draft Constitution, but unfortunately this will not be considered in this process. This renders the whole exercise a futile and fruitless process, taking into account the time and finances spent in coming up with the recommendations,” read the submission.
MISA Zambia observed that inspite the proposal being included in the Mung’omba and the NCC Draft Constitutions, it had been left out in the current Bill.
On the Presidential elections, MISA Zambia submitted that the president elect should not be sworn in until the matter is determined by the Constitutional Court within 90 days as provided by Article 38 (3).
“During this period, we propose that the speaker discharges the executive functions and if not able at the time then the Deputy Speaker does so,” read the submission in part.
On the presidential immunity, MISA Zambia argued that: “Immunity is a privilege which is conferred on an individual serving as President. It is a blanket cover. Therefore, proposing that when immunity is removed a person should only be tried on the criminal charges for which the immunity is removed, amounts to compartmentalisation of immunity which must not be the case.”
“Furthermore and as already alluded to, Immunity from criminal proceedings is a privilege and not a right. Therefore, once it has been removed it can never be restored because it is only enjoyed by persons holding the office of President or performing the functions of that office.”
MISA Zambia submitted that the Vice-President should be elected as a running mate to the Presidential candidate and that the principles behind the notion of separation of powers should be enhanced by appointing individuals from outside the National Assembly as Ministers.
MISA Zambia further submitted that the issue of establishing the Political Parties’ Commission which will be in-charge of registration and regulation of political parties could hamper the enjoyment of freedom of association and that the registration and regulation of political parties should be done by an independent public office without the interference of either the President or the National Assembly, through appointments and ratification.
“We are of the view that the essence of the Fund is to financially assist political parties and not a business venture. The money must be used by political parties and as such the money should be available at all times,” read the submission in part.

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