By CHARITY MOONGA –
THE Technical Committee on Drafting the Zambian Constitution was yesterday expected to hand over copies of the final draft Constitution to President Michael Sata.
Addressing a Press conference held at Government Complex yesterday, Committee spokesperson Ernest Mwansa admitted that the Technical Committee had failed to simultaneously hand over the document to both members of the public and the President.
Mr Mwansa was flanked by Technical committee members who included Patrick Mvunga, Paulman Chungu, Reverend Suzanne Matale, Reuben Lifuka, Mwangala Zaloumis, Simon Kabanda, Chief Luchembe and Committee Chief Rapporteur Lubinda Aongola.
The Technical Committee was expected to hand over the final Draft Constitution to the President at 16:00 hours yesterday.
Mr Mwansa said the Committee had intended to hand over the final draft Constitution simultaneously to validate the work it had done by the members of the public.
“The Technical Committee has not been given the mandate by the Government to print adequate copies of the final Draft Constitution, the report and the Constitution of Zambia Bill to facilitate hand over to the appointing authority and simultaneously to the general public.
“The Committee is therefore, left with no choice but to handover the documents to the appointing authority alone so as not to delay the conclusion of the Constitution-making process any further,” Mr Mwansa said.
He said the Committee had only signed 10 copies of the document.
Emotions flared as Mr Mwansa read the statement. Some members of the public, opposition political parties, the church and civil society organisations, who were in attendance, sympathised with Mr Mwansa while at the same time accused the Technical Committee members of having betrayed them by handing over the document to the President alone.
But the civil society organisations, the church, opposition political parties and members of the public, who ‘hijacked’ the press conference, took the Technical Committee to task and demanded that the committee should delay the handover of the document and give them a soft copy of the document to protect the content.
As soon as the meeting ended, the CSOs, opposition political parties, the church and some members of the public were seen holding a meeting to strategise on the way forward concerning the Constitution-making process.
Government had given the Technical Committee up to today to hand over 10 copies of the final draft Constitution to the President.