Anyone seen Zambia's draft constitution?

Another month, another drafting deadline missed. July 31st was meant to be the day when the Technical Committee handed over its final draft of the new Zambian Constitution to the Ministry of Justice. But guess what? Nothing happened. There was no handover. And Zambians are no closer to knowing what their next constitution will look like. Or indeed whether they are ever going to get a new one.

So what happens now?

Richard Lee's picture

Author

Strategic communications for WWF

August 1st, 2013

Another month, another drafting deadline missed. July 31st was meant to be the day when the Technical Committee handed over its final draft of the new Zambian Constitution to the Ministry of Justice. But guess what? Nothing happened. There was no handover. And Zambians are no closer to knowing what their next constitution will look like. Or indeed whether they are ever going to get a new one.

So what happens now?

The Minister of Justice will probably rant and rave a little to try and convince people that the hold up is nothing to do with the Patriotic Front government of President Sata, which - remember - promised a new constitution within 90 days of taking office way back in 2011. But there are few Zambians - even diehard supporters of the PF - who really think that the process would have missed so many deadlines if the government was honestly pushing hard for it to be completed.

And the recently-formed civil society coaltion will try its best to force the issue but it is hard when the vast majority of the mainstream media is so firmly in the PF corner.

And eventually another deadline will be set (perhaps December 31st - since it has a nice 'end of year & easy to miss' ring to it) and the country will carry on as before. And then that deadline too will be missed. And eventually the whole process will be quietly shelved.

Unless, of course, Zambians start making some real noise, start demanding that the government live up to its campaign pledge to swiftly produce a new constitution. The current Supreme Law of the land is out of date. Everyone knows that. And everyone - bar it seems the government and the technical committee - wants a new one as soon as possible.

But sadly the power to complete the process is in the PF's hands. And they don't seem to be in any rush.

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