22 September 2012

Zambia: 'Only Grade 12 Certificate Holders Should Contest Parliament Seats'

DELEGATES to the just-ended Kabwe District Consultative Forum on drafting the Zambian Constitution have unanimously resolved that the clause stipulating that the Grade 12 minimum qualification for aspiring councillors and Members of Parliament should be upheld.

The delegates said leaders should have such a qualification to be able to articulate issues with understanding.

"We cannot have a situation where you have MPs who go in the House to debate issues but all they do is shout hear, hear or have councillors who all they say is, I concur.

"What are they concurring if they don't understand?" one participant asked.

In support of Article 137(d) for MPs and 203(d) for councillors as contained in the Draft Constitution, the delegates said the Patriotic Front (PF) Government had shown commitment to taking development and improving education facilities in all corners of the country.

However, others with opposing views said the recommendations were discriminatory as there were leaders who did not have such qualifications but were able to provide good leadership.

They said it was wrong to think that only educated people should be in positions of authority.

A heated debate ensued but eventually the delegates endorsed the qualification of Grade 12 as minimum entry as per the draft proposal.

The delegates endorsed Article 81 which stated that a losing candidate at district or National Assembly level should not be eligible for certain appointments such as minister.

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