Power and Politics

Ndulo cautions against wasting time on constitutional commissions, seeks adoption of past reports


Renowned Zambian constitutional expert, Professor Muna Ndulo has voiced concerns about the current state of constitution development in Zambia.

Professor Ndulo emphasized that the existing environment in Zambia was not conducive to constructive dialogue regarding the establishment of a durable constitution.

This is contained in a statement issued in Lusaka on Sunday.

Reflecting on Zambia’s historical context, Professor Ndulo noted that the constitutions inherited from former British colonies were initially flawed, lacking full democratic principles as they were products of negotiated settlements with Britain.

“In the period between independence and the late 1980s, instead of democratizing the independence constitutions, government made several amendments to the document,” he said

Over time, instead of democratising these constitutions, successive governments opted for multiple amendments, consolidating power within the presidency and rendering the constitutions even less democratic.

Professor Ndulo cautioned against pursuing further constitutional commissions, citing an abundance of information from previous efforts that could facilitate constitutional development.

“Zambia does not need any more Constitutional Commissions because there is a lot of information from previous Commissions allowing for Constitutional development,” Ndulo said.

However, he stressed that without consensus on the constitution-making process, achieving a satisfactory agreement would remain elusive.

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Highlighting the necessity of expertise in constitution development, Professor Ndulo emphasized the importance of consulting stakeholders and ensuring clarity in the language of the constitution.

“The issue of consulting stakeholders remains one of the challenges in the development of a durable Constitution in Zambia,” he said.

He also urged caution in approaching issues such as proportional representation, emphasizing the need for balanced deliberation.

Furthermore, Professor Ndulo drew attention to Article 79 of the current constitution, which he claimed posed challenges to its amendment or replacement, suggesting a unique provision not found elsewhere globally.

“The Constitution must also be in plain language that is easy to understand.

Professor Ndulo called upon both the Zambian government and its citizens to address these challenges collectively, underscoring the significance of a well-crafted, easily comprehensible constitution for the nation’s future.

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