Civil societies (CSOs) in Zambia are insisting that lawmakers should discard Bill 10 as it goes to Parliament because it will set the country on a path to one-party dictatorship.

Speaking at a press conference held at Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) offices in Lusaka today, TIZ Executive Director Wesley Chibamba says CSOs in the country have rejected the enactment of Bill 10 as it does not represent the views of Zambians.

He adds that citizens were not consulted on what they wanted to see in the constitution.

He said Bill 10 seeks to reverse the gains that the country has made in the constitution by increasing the power to the president, allowing him to dictate how the citizens should govern themselves.

He said the Bill reduces the power of State institutions such as the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) and the Judiciary, which keep those in power in check and hold the president accountable for his decisions.

“Under our current constitution, the people of Zambia have the power to decide how they want to be governed. That power is under threat,” he said.

Chibamba said CSOs have noted that the enactment of this Bill will make it easy to manipulate electoral processes and election results through the introduction of the coalition government, making it easier to be elected as the president even when not voted by the majority of Zambians.

He added that all changes made in the proposed Bill 10 will make it easy for the party in power to retain power.

He noted that the Bill will also weaken the role of the National Assembly by removing its ability in ensuring that the country does not contract more debt than it can afford. 

Chibamba also remarked that the Bill will furthermore weaken the role of the Judiciary by making it easier to appoint judges who are in favour of the government against those perceived to be independent, making it harder for citizens to acquire justice. 

“If Bill 10 is passed into law, there will be no check on how much debt the president and his minister obtain, making us even more poorer than we already are,” he said.

The executive director reminded the MPs that they were elected into office to defend the constitution and protect the interest of Zambians who voted them into power, hence there is need that all MPs reject the enactment of the Bill that will be tabled for second reading tomorrow Tuesday, December 3.

“We urge them to follow their conscience and ensure that the citizens and democracy are protected,” he emphasized.