17 January 2013

Zambia: Two People Ejected From Constitution Convention

TWO delegates allegedly impersonating as representatives from Muchinga Province were yesterday ejected from the Constitution convention after it was discovered that they were not eligible, having travelled from Lusaka as party representatives.

The two had already received attendance allowances of more than KR1000 each at the time they were being ejected.

Ruth Mulenga, who registered as a representative from Zambia Conservation Party (ZCP) and Harriet Siamutondo registered as Zambia Direct Democracy Movement (ZDDM) officials were spotted by some alert Technical Committee members on Tuesday after being paid the allowances.

Muchinga Provincial Constitution Convention chairperson Patrick Chibuye confirmed in an interview yesterday that the two were ordered out of the convention and asked to surrender the allowances they had been paid.

"Delegates should be residents or their parties should have a presence in the province. They were given official appointment letters but their opposition parties have no presence in Muchinga Province. We want to follow the guidelines and not bend the rules," he said.

Meanwhile, University of Zambia Associate Professor Mulela Munalula says the consolidated final draft Constitution would be a progressive document after Parliament had passed it.

Prof Munalula said yesterday on the sidelines of the Muchinga Provincial Constitution-making process that the outcome of the final Constitution would bring about better representation because the proportional representation clause would be effective.

And about half of the 15 articles from the first draft Constitution under debate at the Muchinga Provincial Constitution-making Convention have been retained with slight modifications.

The Death Penalty, Acquisition and Protection of Property, Equality before the Law and most parts of the Bill of Rights articles of the first draft Constitution have been overwhelmingly retained by working groups of delegates.

In Mansa, area Member of Parliament (MP) Kennedy Sakeni implored the Technical Committee to ensure that all the regions were adequately represented at the national and sector conventions.

"From my observation, there are more civil servants here. Some district traditional leaders are not represented here like the Bwile, Shila and even some prominent business people in the province are not here. So we feel that they have failed us somehow and they need to make up," he said.

Chairperson of the Luapula Province Royal Foundation Chief Chisunka of the Ushi people hailed the process, stating that it was important for the traditional leadership to be involved in the constitution-making process as they presided over many people in their area.

In Mongu, the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) has refuted remarks by Western Province Permanent Secretary Bert Mushala in which he was appealing to the Technical Committee to consider a late entry of BRE delegates to attend the ongoing Constitution Convention.

The BRE's refusal follows Mr Mushala's remarks he issued on Monday when Technical Committee members led by their chairperson Annel Silungwe paid a courtesy call on him.

BRE Induna Imandi Akapelwa Silumbu said in a policy statement at the Ngambela's Kuta in Limulunga yesterday that the BRE did not request for a late entry.

"BRE categorically refutes this statement that at no time did we push in a late entry request to participate in the Provincial Constitution Convention.

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