Constitution Indaba Set

OPPOSITION political parties, civil society, the church and Government have agreed to dialogue over the Constitution-making process with a meeting set for April 30, 2014 in Lusaka.

Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution (SACCORD) executive director Boniface Cheembe said the stakeholders were happy that Government through Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba confirmed its availability to the meeting.

On April 16, 2014, 16 political parties under the Opposition Political Parties Presidents Committee on the Constitution-making process wrote to President Michael Sata requesting him to chair a meeting with stakeholders on the way forward on the Constitution.

Among the political parties were the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, United Party for National Development, National Restoration Party, Forum for Democracy and Development and Alliance for Better Zambia.

Mr Cheembe said in an interview yesterday that following the confirmation by Government to participate in the inter-party meeting, all stakeholders have been written to, officially inviting them to the meeting.

He said that the meeting was for all stakeholders in the constitution-making process including the media to discuss the way forward and the challenges that stakeholders were currently facing.

Mr Cheembe whose organisation is planning the meeting on behalf of the stakeholders, said that the essence of the meeting was to find a lasting consensus and not isolate opinions on the Constitution.

He said it was the hope of the stakeholders that the meeting would put to bed the difference over the constitution-making process that has currently rocked the country.

Mr Cheembe further said that SACCORD was happy that it has received a response from Government confirming availability for the meeting.

“It is an important meeting because it will give stakeholders a chance to ask Government certain things and Government will equally have an opportunity to do the same to the stakeholders. We also hope that will definitely put off the shoulders the current issues about the Constitution process,” Mr Cheembe said.

Mr Cheembe was hopeful that the stakeholders would harmoniously work out the Constitution-making process by building and discussion face to face the paramount issue of the Constitution in the best interest of all Zambians.

The stakeholders want Government to facilitate simultaneous release of the final draft constitution to all stakeholders and further provide a roadmap on the adoption of the Constitution through a referendum and the subsequent enactment through an Act of Parliament.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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