Governance Elections Advocacy and Research Services (GEARS) Initiative has appealed to President Edgar Lungu not to assent to the National Dialogue Bill No. 19 of 2019 because its current form would only accommodate interests of the ruling party and its associates.
GEARS Initiative Executive Director McDonald Chipenzi in a statement issued to Lusaka Star said the bill would not achieve a desirable outcome as major stakeholders were not taking part.
“How can government achieve positive desired intentions of the bill if the church, NGOs and the largest alliance of opposition political parties distance themselves from participating in the forum?” Chipenzi said.
He said the likelihood that the process would be a monologue were high and as such individuals and institutions with similar views could not address the intended purpose of the bill.
Mr Chipenzi said it was clear that a chance to amend the constitution was again missed, as the constitutional reforms to be presented in parliament soon after the scheduled forum brought about by the National Dialogue Bill would not gather required support as seen from a simple majority that passed it.
Members of Parliament on April 2nd passed the National Dialogue Bill meant to give a blueprint and guidelines to discussions surrounding the Public Order Act, Electoral reforms, Constitutional amendments and Political party dialogue among other things.
The Bill passed with a simple majority of 91 voting for it, while 52 opposed the bill.