Zambian gov't to go ahead with constitution amendment process despite opposition boycott: official

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-26 23:56:52|Editor: yan
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LUSAKA, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Zambian government said on Tuesday it will go ahead with the constitution amendment program despite some key opposition political parties threatening to boycott the process.

Last week, Justice Minister Given Lubinda commissioned a two-phased constitution refinement roadmap adopted by cabinet to address the lacunas and inconsistencies in the current document.

He said the process, which would commence next month and last until June this year, would include parliamentary sessions with various stakeholders before coming up with a bill to be taken to parliament.

But some opposition leaders said their lawmakers will not be part of the constitution refinement process when it is taken to parliament because they wanted national dialogue to precede it.

Hakainde Hichilema, the main opposition leader, said his lawmakers will not take part in the refinement process and accused the government of trying to manipulate the process by avoiding the dialogue process.

But the justice minister said the process will commence next month even without the support of the opposition and that the government will not force opposition lawmakers to be part of the process.

"If they stay away, their constituencies are watching them as they have an obligation to represent the people. Government is giving an opportunity to the political parties and the church mother bodies to contribute by making submissions to the process in order to take part in the country's governance," he told reporters during a press briefing.

He has since urged other stakeholders to utilize the submission process and make their views known in order for the country to have a constitution that will stand the test of time.

The government, he said, will not leave anyone behind in the refinement process of the constitution.