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Group Calls For New Zambian Constitution


In Zambia, a group referring to itself as the Oasis Forum has recently called for a new constitution. The speaker of the National Assembly met the request with a stern warning, telling the group not to interfere in parliamentary proceedings. The warning followed the publication by the Oasis Forum of the names of lawmakers who voted down a citizen petition calling for a new constitution. The group is accusing the government of President Levy Mwanawasa of lacking the political will to enact a new constitution. It also accuses the government of rejecting a new constitutional draft submitted by the Constitution Review Commission appointed by the president, saying it is defective and divisive. But the government denied this, saying the new draft constitution will be given to the government by December 31st. Benny Tetamashimba is Zambia’s deputy minister of information. From the Capital Lusaka, he talks to English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey about why his government rejected the new draft constitution.