Grand Coalition chairperson Leonard Chiti has expressed disappointment with Patriotic Front (PF) and Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Members of Parliament (MPs) for supporting the Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill that has passed the second reading stage in parliament. THE Grand Coalition on a people-driven constitution has maintained its stance against the piece-meal enactment of the final draft constitution.
Coalition chairperson Leonard Chiti told the Lusaka Star in an interview that his organisation would soon regroup and re-strategise on how it could persuade parliamentarians vote against piece-meal enactment of the constitution.
Fr. Chiti further expressed disappointment with Patriotic Front (PF) and Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Members of Parliament (MPs) for supporting the Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill that has passed the second reading stage.
The bill is destined for the third reading stage before assent, a move that would entail enacting the Zambian constitution by amending parts of the document in parliament unlike through a national referendum.
Recently, 109 MPs voted in support of the amendment bill with 35 voting against, resulting in the required two thirds majority votes to proceed to the next stage.
Fr. Chiti appealed to MPs to exercise conscience and integrity by voting against the bill to ensure the constitution was enacted in a manner that the citizenry wanted.
“The voting pattern exhibited by parliamentarians is a testimony that there are few MPs that have conscience and integrity,” he said.
The clergyman, who also heads the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections (JCTR), said it was clear that the PF and MMD MPs had a selfish agenda regarding some clauses in the constitution.
Fr Chiti also expressed displeasure at the manner in which MPs voted on partisan lines, disregarding the wish of the people they represented.
During Wednesday’s parliamentary session, the committee on Legal Affairs presented the Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill no. 16 of 2015 and the Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill no. 17 of 2015 at second reading stage and it passed successfully.
Committee Chairperson Cornelius Mweetwa suggested to the house that the bills be withdrawn but Justice Minister Ngosa Symbyakula rejected the recommendation and urged MPs to support the bills.
Dr. Symbyakula, who urged MPs to support the two bills, cited financial challenges in holding a referendum hence the need for enactment of non contentious parts of the constitution through parliament.
The Grand Coalition is a grouping of various religious and civil society organizations.