Zambia turns to a new page: Lungu assents to constitution bills

Filed under: Breaking News,Politics |

Lungu assentingPresident Edgar Lungu has assented to the constitution bills amendments passed by Parliament at a historical event held at Heroes stadium bringing to end the debate on the constitution that has been going on for the last 24 years.

President Lungu lifts the new constitution after assenting the bills

President Lungu lifts the new constitution after assenting the bills

Speaking before thousands of people from all provinces invited to witness the ceremony Tuesday, January 5, 2016, President Lungu said the country had wasted alot of money in the exercise.

This constitution has costed us a lot of money, we must close this chapter, President Lungu told the cheering crowd.

He said 11 months in office he had managed to deliver a constitution as promised during his inauguration in January 2015. He said the only clause that was missing from the draft was the bill of rights that requires a referendum.

With the signing of the bills today, Zambia’s political landscape has changed.

President Edgar Lungu greets MMD president Nevers Mumba who was accompanied by his wife during the assenting of the constitution bills which have since become law at Heroes stadium.

President Edgar Lungu greets MMD president Nevers Mumba who was accompanied by his wife during the assenting of the constitution bills which have since become law at Heroes stadium.

The major change, of course, is the much-talked-about 50 percent plus one, which will call for mergers, re-runs and coalitions if there is no clear majority winner.

And then there is the running mate clause, where the President will now have a vice-president voted by the electorate, as the case is in the US.

In Africa, the Kenyan and Malawian constitutions do provide for a running mate. It has so far worked well in the former, but caused a hitch in the later.
This clause will immediately affect parties that have two positions for vice-presidents like the United Party for National Development. The clause is also expected to add a new dimension to politics as candidates will now have to rely not only their strengths but also on the strengths of their running mates.

In the case of the US presidential election which saw the election of Barack Obama, some critics blame Republican candidate John McCain’s loss on his choice of a running mate – Sarah Palin.

Candidates can no longer choose liabilities as vice-presidents, and future presidents will not fire their vice-president at their whim or arbitrarily.
Under the new constitution, the election date will be fixed – the second Thursday of August.

This, of course, levels the playing field somewhat, as previously, opposition parties had to a large extent been caught unawares; and they have cried foul.

The new Constitution also sets a new bar for elective positions of councillor and member of Parliament, with Grade 12 academic qualification set as the entry level.
Some may already have started packing on account of this clause.

Zambians living abroad may be some of the happiest when the new Constitution is signed as they stand to benefit from the dual citizenship clause.

And, of course, the new Constitution still acknowledges the supremacy of God Almighty and its identity as a Christian Nation.

This clause has, however, been amended to respect the right to freedom of worship of every citizen.

Dr. Kaunda (l)

Dr. Kaunda (l)

The event was also attended by two surviving former presidents – Kenneth Kaunda and Rupiah Banda.



12 Responses to Zambia turns to a new page: Lungu assents to constitution bills

  1. Well done Mr President

    January 5, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    • Better still…. well done Zambians because without all the pressure this would not have happened

      January 5, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      • Ditto that.

        January 5, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    • Dual Citizenship
      In July 2014, Zambians and Friends of Zambia living in Scotland lead by their Chainman for Scotland Zambia Partnership (SCOZAP) Mr Lazarous Chisela strongly presented a request to the Zambian Government through the former Vice President of the Republic of Zambia, Honourable Dr Lindsey Guy Scott to constitutionally allow Zambians in diaspora throughout the world to have dual citizenship.
      The argument for the request was based on the fact that dual citizenship would enable Zambians abroad all over the world to freely apply their skills, knowledge and investment in their country of origin or birth.
      It was at this function that Mr Chisela also said that, considering that there is an immense historical relationship between Zambia and Scotland dating back to; Dr David Livingstone the first European to discover the mighty Victoria falls located in the tourist capital of Zambia known as Livingstone town; not forgetting that the first President of the Republic of Zambia was a son of a Church of Scotland Missionary from Malawi Dr David Kenneth Kaunda; of course Zambia’s former Vice President Honourable Dr Lindsey Guy Scott is a son of Scottish parents.
      The litany of connections between these two countries is endless and hence there is a genuine reason why these two countries should further enhance their already warm relations and consequently increase social and economic benefits for the peoples of the two countries.
      Zambians here in Scotland were very happy when again the former acting President of Zambia at the time His Excellence Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu released the constitution to the Zambian people on 24th October 2014 as an Independence gift to the Zambian people. You have no idea, this gave every one of us in diaspora confidence that dual citizenship was just around the corner.
      Mr President your Excellence Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, as Zambians living in Scotland we cannot find better words to express our gratitude for what you have done for the future generation of Zambia. What you have done, is creating a bridge of development between Zambia and the nationals all over the world where a Zambian is allowed Dual citizenship. Benefits may not be seen today, but believe me you, the future of Zambia will not only be built by our fellow brothers and sisters who live in Zambian, but just like other countries to mention but a few, India, USA, UK, Ghana, Nigeria Brothers and sisters in diaspora will openly join in those in Zambia in further building Zambia into a better place for everyone.
      Certainly, no reasonable person will disagree that challenges will arise as result, but believe me, Zambians have gone through more difficulty challenges and have always come out stronger and better. Well-done Mr President, well-done my fellow Zambians in particular all Zambian politicians who had to debate the non-contentious provisions of the draft Constitution to a happy ending, because human capital in diaspora is very necessary for economic development of Zambia.

      50+1 Provision.
      On behalf of the Zambians in diaspora who have been longing for many years for this time when Zambia would be ruled by the majority government. We are proud of you Mr President for swallowing a bitter pill and sign the document that many presidents have refused with passion. As a Zambian in diaspora I can now walk with pride and register my gratitude that Zambia has continued to uphold democratic values for the future generation. Your Excellence pending your signature on this important document entails that you have opened a door to future and new politics (there is no way any one can bring change in the country by doing the same thing and expecting different results) which will bring to the end of political nomadism a clear indication of lack of political principles, where politicians change parties like shirts when it is torn they buy a new one. Mr President this is why when you look at the members of Parliament, you will find it difficult to appreciate political experience among many. The reason is simple parties come and go in Zambia, but we all expect government structures to remain steadfast, it is not possible. Just like any other area of life, football for example, Kalusha Bwalya, David Becalm, Hand Murry, did not become great players in one season. These guys begun sport when they were young and grew with sport. Politics are not exception, former Prime Ministers of UK ; Tony Blair, Golden Brown, current Prime Minister David Cameron of UK, current First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, and the late President of the Republic of Zambia his Excellence Michael Chilufya Sata died with honour because he learnt to be a great politician over many years. Your Excellence this is strong foundation that you have established for politics in Zambia and it will stand a test of time.

      The benefit Mr President is that fifty plus one provision will reduce the number of parties in the country and two most powerful democratic parties will emerge which will be producing leadership in the country just like in developed countries, well-done Your Excellence. This will also override the fears that people have of rerunning Presidential elections at cost, and will provide a majority President.

      Mr President this will in the long run make it possible for the future Zambia to have a “Shadow Government to be formed by the major opposition party.” You have shown great leadership rather than just talking because you have now gained international support by upholding democratic values while being faced with a lot of economic challenges. Please ride on Mr President since you are on the right truck and I admire your changes in the central committee of your party. Happy New Year, I am sure that my brothers and sisters in diaspora have received the gift of Dual Citizenship as a dual gift of Christmas and New Year with both hands, God bless you and God bless Zambia.
      L.Chisela (Chairman of SCOZAP)

      Lazrous Chisela
      January 6, 2016 at 2:32 am

  2. My uncle is a very good Ward Councillor,now this new amended constitution,will prevent him to re-contest in August,2016 because he has only a grade 7 certificate. Let`s hope GBM has a grade 12 certificate,otherwise it will be bad news.

    January 5, 2016 at 2:33 pm

  3. I quote – “bringing to end the debate on the constitution that has been going on for the last 24 years”.
    Who cheated you this has come to end? A constitution without the Bill of Rights, Rights that empower even you and many other ordinary citizens, is nothing. Debates continue until issues, like of the Running Mate, duo citizenship, Bill of Rights, Presidential Powers, Autonomy /separation of the three arms of government (Executive, Legislature and Judiciary), etc, are satisfactorily addressed. This one is a pf campaign constitution, but the republican constitution is yet to come, it will be delivered by the UPND government.

    Memphis Shew
    January 5, 2016 at 3:48 pm

  4. Give credit where it is due, WELL DONE EDGAR, now those “personal to holder” Councilors will let go and give chance to the young, vibrant, up to date citizens to run the Local Authorities in the country, not ma Standard 6 Councilors day in and day out, phew!!! twalumba taata

    January 5, 2016 at 3:56 pm

  5. This is a step ahead . One step at a time.
    Luya.S. Congrats yr Exclence you have done what you can.

    victor shabukali
    January 5, 2016 at 6:07 pm

  6. EL looks good with his running mate.

    January 5, 2016 at 9:21 pm

  7. @KC u have seen wat am seeing also, i think they look just gud..hopfully they will be able to merge their 2 parties as well as their ideologies

    January 5, 2016 at 9:58 pm

  8. He is dressed like a chef, by the way who dresses Chagwa , mwebantu?
    Out of all the colours, any way bena tarven.

    January 5, 2016 at 11:29 pm

  9. This is good for diaspore only, do the villagers understand this? No way!
    They just went to drink, especially, those who were ferried from Northern, Luapula sad for them. It will only sink when the will return to their respective areas.

    January 5, 2016 at 11:36 pm

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