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Civil Society Participation in Zambia’s Constitution Making Process Through e-Networking

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Civil Society Participation in Zambia’s Constitution

[From the CSO (civil society organisation) Zambia Constitution Network Blog, which is] an open space for all stakeholders such as the Zambia Governance Foundation (ZGF) Grant-Partners, other CSOs and the general public who intend to make a difference by contributing to the constitution making process. All are encouraged to engage in  meaningful discussions by posting comments or submissions and opinion poll voting on various thematic areas of the constitution as we track the constitution making process, inclusion of submissions and promote voter participation in the anticipated referendum. The blog shares submissions made by ZGF Grant-partners and other CSOs  to the Technical Committee drafting Zambia’s Constitution.

Zambia has had several constitutional review commissions since the early 1970s. Tragically, though set up at a huge cost to Zambian tax payers, the country has continued facing constitutional crisis leading to continuous amendments with the aim of meeting the needs and demands of the Zambian People. This scenario has made the past Governments spend huge sums of money on constitutional related processes and projects at the expense of basic services such as health and education. Lack of effective participation at grassroots and household level has largely contributed to these constitutional failures. In 2009 alone, over ZMK150 billion was spent on the National Constitution Conference which eventually failed to enact a people driven constitution. Much of the failure was alluded to lack of effective participation of key stakeholders such as the Civil Society, representative political players and the general public.

However, on 16th November 2011, the President of the Republic of Zambia appointed an 18 member Technical Committee that is mandated to draft Zambia’s Constitution. The Technical Committee has so far published a road map to the constitution making process that seem to encourage broader and effective participation of different stakeholders such as the Civil Society and the general public. Nevertheless, the participation of the CSOs would not be as effective as expected if a platform for information sharing, lobby and advocacy is not provided. Therefore, the Forum for Youth Organizations in Zambia (FYOZ) in partnership with Transparency International Zambia (TIZ), FDC and other Zambia Governance Foundation (ZGF) grant partners developed the CSO Zambia Constitution Network Blog. The blog was  developed to provide a platform that will increase Civil Society participation in the Zambia Constitution Making Process through information sharing, e-networking, consolidated submissions, joint policy lobby and advocacy building a critical mass using social media. Furthermore, the platform shall be used to facilitate CSOs participation at various stages of the Technical Committee Consultative processes.

 

By Rodney Katongo
Forum for Youth Organisations in Zambia (FYOZ)

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