Government to hold Referendum along side the 2016 General Elections

Filed under: Statements |

mwaleGovernment has announced that a referendum to adopt the new constitution will be held next year.

Cabinet has since approved the introduction of a Bill in Parliament to amend Section 3 (1) of the Referendum Act of 1967 of the Laws of Zambia in order to bring it into conformity with Article 79 (3) of the Constitution of Zambia.

Briefing journalists at State House yesterday after a Cabinet meeting, Acting Chief Government Spokesperson Vincent Mwale said that the inconsistency is that the constitution requires 50 percent of persons entitled to be registered as voters in a referendum, while the Referendum Act provides for all persons registered as voters in a referendum.

Mr. Mwale said that Minister of Justice Dr. Ngosa Simbyakula will issue a comprehensive ministerial statement in Parliament in due course.

Mr. Mwale stated that Cabinet has also approved the appointment of members of the Zambia Law Development Commission and that Dr. Simbyakula will announce the approved names of the commission.

And on Sunday evening, Chief Government Spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili told ZNBC that Government was contemplating combining a referendum with the 2016 general elections in order to cut on the costs.

Mr Kambwili said during a ‘Sunday Interview’ programme on ZNBC television that currently Government would twinned the holding of the referendum with the general elections.

He said holding of the referendum separately would have a negative impact because Zambians have just come out of the presidential by-election.

He said the money which the Government spent on the presidential by-election would have channelled to other service delivery.

Mr Kambwili who is also Information and Broadcasting Minister said the Government was in a hurry to enact the people driven Constitution as it was evidenced with the roadmap that was released recently.

The Minister said it was the duty of the current the Government to ensure that the Constitution which would be enacted carry the aspiration of the people.

Mr Kambwili said the Patriotic Front (PF) Government was ready to release the Constitution after reaching a Consensus on the submissions from people.

“Grevazio, we want the Constitution of Zambia to be driven by the people not the Government,” he said.

Mr Kambwili reminded the people that they should not panic over the Constitution because the country had no Constitution crisis as at now.

He said there was a Constitution in place but the Government would ensure that the people-driven constitution was enacted.

He wondered why some Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) were speaking loudly on the constitution when they were not representing the majority Zambians.

The minister said Members of Parliament (MPs) either from ruling and opposition had the correct reflection on the people not the NGOs.
He said parliament was biding to the representative of the people in all 150 constituencies not NGOs.

He said it would be wrong to call it a people Constitution when in actual fact was meant for people.

Mr Kambwili said it was totally wrong for the media in Zambia to be twisting facts.

He said the media should report responsibly and stop twisting facts which he said had the potential to take the country into turmoil.

“I want to see a media that will conform to three norms (Entertain, education and inform) and you know what happened in Rwanda, the genocide was caused by one irresponsible media and people died,” he said.

He said the media should promote unity instead of insults which he said was not good.

He said there was a lot of hate speech which was being preached in the media circles in the country.

He warned the media against irresponsible to reporting.