The PF-instituted National Dialogue Forum (NDF) has proposed some controversial changes to the constitution, such as bringing back the position of deputy minister and reverting to the old system of electing mayors from among councillors.

NDF Spokesperson indicates that delegates have agreed to the re-introduction of deputy ministers with added powers for them to act when cabinet ministers are absent, a situation that was not the case in the past.

“The Forum also resolved to refine the Constitution by reintroducing Deputies for Ministers to ensure the gap that was created in management of ministries is resolved. The Forum is exploring at strengthening the position of these Deputies to act in the absence of their superiors than the current or former situation where Deputies would not do so. This resolution was adopted based on very compelling arguments by those who argued in favorable for reintroduction or not” he explained.

Addressing the media after the plenary session Mwanza emphasized that despite delegates at the forum retaining the wording that Zambia is a Christian Nation, the Constitution shall continue to uphold other people’s freedom of conscience.

Mwanza said the NDF has also retained the wording that Zambia is a Christian Nation but also agreed that the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation should further be provided for in Article 8 under part 2 of the Constitution.

Mwanza said that notwithstanding this proposed amendment, the Constitution shall continue to uphold other people’s freedom of conscience.

On other issues, Mwanza said that there was general consensus by delegates to remove detailed provisions on nominations, commissions, the form of electoral system, qualifications of certain office bearers such as Councillors and others to be provided by subsidiary laws to be enacted by Parliament rather than populate our constitution with such details.

He also said that Mayors and Council Chairpersons will revert to being elected from among elected Councillors.

“Among the contentious issues which have been settled by consensus of the Forum is for election of mayors and council chairpersons by Councillors from among themselves. This will ensure that Councillors who are elected by all people within the district and those who lead the Council as mayors and Council Chairpersons become accountable to each other on the running of Councils and to the people who elected them in the districts” he said.

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