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REJECT BILL 10, CSOs TELL MPs

By Scoop Reporter

A CONSORTIUM of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have reiterated calls by some section of society to shoot down Bill 10 when Parliament reconvenes next week Tuesday, June 9, 2020.

The CSOs are ActionAid Zambia, Alliance for Community Action, Caritas Zambia, Chapter One Foundation, CISCA, Centre for Trade Policy and Development, and Zambia Council for Social Development.

In a joint statement released today and signed by Chapter One Chapter Executive Director, Linda Kasonde, the CSOs say Bill 10 must be rejected because it among other things, proposes the removal of the constitutional provisions on the National Assembly’s oversight over the contraction of debt.

They say this will mean that the Zambian people will not be able to hold those in Government to account for racking up billions of Kwacha in debt that the current and future generation will be paying for.

They say this will come at the expense of providing basic services like health, education, housing and water and sanitation that most Zambians are currently being deprived of.

They have urged MPs to reject Bill 10 because the Zambian constitution was amended extensively in 2016, only four years ago and that the amendments made in 2016 reflected the will of the Zambian people through a consultative process.

“While the 2016 amendment was not perfect and had inconsistencies that required attention there was never a call nor a justification for the fundamental amendment to the constitution that Bill 10 represents?

“The question we ask is in whose interest is the current political administration pushing for the most fundamental change to the constitution ever done since 1972?” reads the statement in part.

They contend that Zambia has made several constitutional amendments since 1964 and most of those processes have been controlled by the political parties in power and that the result has been reduced transparency, reduced accountability, and subsequently a reduction in the checks and balance over Government.

They say the people voted for and entrusted to oversee the affairs of the nation become less accountable to electorates.

“As parliament resumes we ask, will our members of parliament choose to be servants of the people or will they choose to oppress the people whom they are meant to serve? That is the choice facing them on 9th June 2020.

“As Zambians concerned with the welfare and well-being of Zambia and its citizens, we urge our members of parliament to choose service by rejecting Bill 10. The whole nation is depending on you to choose our people over your own political interests,” read the statement in part.

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