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(Nairobi)

Lusaka

The government has dismissed concerns expressed this week by the Catholic Church that a new law to guide constitutional reforms is defective.

On Tuesday, the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) emphatically rejected the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) Act, saying it could not “deliver a new constitution that will be embraced as legitimate by the people of Zambia, and stand the test of time.”

In response, Defense Minister and acting chief government spokesperson George Mpombo said ZEC gave “the impression that it seeks to dominate and overturn decisions made by the majority,” the Times of Zambia reported.

He said that although ZEC was calling for consensus on the Constitution-making process, it had at the same time taken a position that suggested that it would not bend on its demands, negating the principle of give-and-take required to reach consensus.

The minister refuted assertions by ZEC that the NCC Act was a product of only politicians, saying several stakeholders, including well-meaning churches and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), trade unions and professional bodies, were part to the NCC and its process of enactment.

Mr Mpombo said that the NCC Act, in place of a Constituent Assembly (CA), was not a departure from the recommendations of the Mung’omba Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) even on the question of either amending or replacing the current Constitution.

He also said that the Government was not encouraging division and alienation of different groups of people with divergent views in the Constitution-making process.

Source: Catholic Information Service for Africa

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