The Non-Governmental Organizations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) is of the view that the Minister of Justice should not be a part of the committee of experts looking at the constitution stating that he is the government’s main legal advisor and the one to receive the final report from the committee.
NGOCC board chairperson Beatrice Grillo says the women movement is of the view that president Sata should also expedite the finalization of the constitution making process in a participatory manner and deliver a constitution that will stand the test of time within the shortest possible time.
Mrs. Grillo has pointed out that this is the most important legacy president Sata and his government will give to the Zambian people in general and women and children of Zambia in particular.
She says NGOCC remains committed to its vision of working towards a society where women participate and fully benefit from social, cultural, economic and political development and will remain open to dialogue with government in general.
Meanwhile the NGOCC board chairperson has stated that it is in recognition of the fact that Zambia has signed and ratified International Covenants, Pan African and sub-regional Instruments for the protection and promotion of women’s rights. Mrs. Grillo adds that the women movement is however disappointed that the composition of the committee has fallen short of AU and SADC Gender Protocols to which Zambia is a signatory.
She says the few women on the committee is a matter in contention and it is clearly in contradiction with one of the Committee’s specific Terms of Reference which is “establishing a free and democratic system of Government that guarantees good governance, constitutionalism the rule of law, human rights, gender equity, gender equality and affirmative action”.
Mr Grillo has called on the president review the aspect, and consider a gender balanced representation on the committee because it is the desire of many women to be part and parcel of the team that will be ushering a constitution that will respect the rights of women, children, differently-abled and other vulnerable groups.
In addition, Mrs. Grillo has pointed out that whilst the overall Terms of Reference for the committee are generally acceptable, her organisation does not agree with the proposed Provincial and District Constitution Committees including the proposed consultations at both local and international levels.
She says this would be re-inventing the will and resource constraining given that the Mungómba Constitution Review Commission already went around the country.
Mrs. Grillo has further proposed that Professors Muna Ndulo and Michelo Hansungule should be included to avail the committee the international expertise needed as it is public knowledge that the two have been involved in constitutional making processes that have produced very good constitutions in neighbouring countries.