THE technical committee drafting the Republican Constitution yesterday launched consultative guidelines to allow members of the public to make comments on the first Draft Constitution.
Committee chairperson Annel Silungwe said during the launch at Government Complex in Lusaka that members of the public and stakeholders would be accorded a chance to make their comments through the district, provincial and national sector groups' conventions.
Justice Silungwe said the district consultative meetings would take place in August this year, with resolutions from these conventions to be forwarded to provincial forums earmarked for September that would set the tone for a national indaba.
The composition of the delegates for the conventions at all levels would be representative of various stakeholders including the Church, political parties, traditional leaders, civil society and Non-Governmental Organisations.
Justice Silungwe said the committee would endeavour to be as transparent as possible in the selection of delegates to the various forums to ensure the views presented were representative of the general public.
"As a committee, we realise the fact that a legitimate Constitution derives its authority from its people.
"We also know that if we produce a document that does not reflect the aspirations of the people, we will have laboured in vain," he said.
He also said the entire process was still on course and would be completed within the set time frame, with the final document expected to be handed to the President at the end of November this year.
Justice Silungwe said the terms of reference allowed the committee to go up to December but that with the pace at which work was going, they expected to deliver a people-driven document by the end of November.
"According to our programme of work, we should be able to hand over the document by November although the Government had indicated that we could go on until December," he said.
Justice Silungwe said the translated version of the first Draft Constitution would be out next week and that the braille and audio editions were already out in circulation.
He allayed fears that the committee was being influenced by some quarters to tailor the Constitution in favour of a "clique of people", saying they were operating autonomously.
Some members of the civil society who attended the launch took the chairperson to task on why the committee did not publish its budget and the source of income to which Justice Silungwe said those details were with the Ministry of Finance.
Bishop Joshua Banda from Northmead Assemblies of God cautioned the committee against making inclusions in the final document that would not be representative of the citizens