President Edgar Lungu on Tuesday, 5th January, 2016 appended his signature to the Constitution Bill Number 17 of 2015 which bring to an end the country’s protracted constitution making process.
President Lungu signed the Bill at exactly 15:33Hours at Lusaka’s Heroes Stadium at a ceremony witnessed by people drawn from all walks of life.
Dressed in a white jacket and black trousers, President Lungu who was accompanied by First Lady Esther appeared in a serious and sombre mood throughout the ceremony.
In his key note speech, President Lungu said he has signed the Bill because he has no qualms about reducing powers of the President because it is not about him but Zambia.
President Lungu also paid tribute to past Presidents including Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, Dr. Fredrick Chiluba, Levy Mwanawasa, Micheal Sata and Rupiah Banda for their efforts and contribution in the initiation and evolution of the process to get to the amendments that have become law now.
He reiterated that he has ‘walked the talk’ as promised during his inauguration as 6th Republican President on 25th January 2015 to deliver a signed constitution.
He also called on Zambians to take time to read the constitution document.
The Head of State further stated that the new constitution must help usher in a new breed of politics where politics delivered their promises.
President Lungu said the signing of the Bill marks a landmark achievement for Zambia in the country’s quest to develop its democratic credentials.
He also announced that with the signing of the Bill, the next general elections will be held on 11th August, 2016.
President Lungu has called on all political parties to ensure that peace prevails during campaigns.
He said the election will be held under the provisions of the New Constitution which sets out the popular 50 % + 1 clause and running mate.
President Lungu said, ‘today as a people, we have an opportunity to make history as I sign into law the new Constitution.’
‘It has taken us many years to make this progress, with failed or stalled processes of the past haunting us,’ he said.
President Lungu added, ‘So today provides a momentous occasion for us as a nation we are grateful to the Almighty God for taking us thus far with this progress.’
‘Let’s take the process forward after this day to ensure that we deal with parts of the Constitution that still require reform and enhancement such as the Bill of Rights. Zambians, here is our new Constitution and a beginning of a new era,’ said in his speech.
Notables in attendance at the signing ceremony are First President Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda, 4th Republican President Mr. Rupiah Banda, and MMD President Dr. Nevers Mumba amongst others.
SOURCE: LUSAKA TIMES