Zambia has undergone a number of constitution-making processes since it gained independence in 1964.
On 16th November 2011, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata appointed a technical committee
consisting of seventeen members to prepare a draft Constitution by reviewing –
¤¤ The Mvunga Constitution Review Commission Report and the 1991 Constitution of Zambia;
¤¤ The Mwanakatwe Constitution Review Commission Report and Draft Constitution, 1993;
¤¤ The Mung’omba Constitution Review Commission Report and Draft Constitution, 2005;
¤¤ The Zaloumis Electoral Reform Technical Committee Report, 2005; and
¤¤ The National Constitutional Conference (NCC) Report and Draft Constitution, 2010
President Sata mandated the Technical Committee to come up with a Constitution that will provide the functions and structures that are necessary
to ensure constitutional democracy and that will provide for the development of a constitutional culture to underpin Zambia’s political system.
In line with this mandate, the Technical Committee produced the first draft Constitution which was launched on 30th April 2012. This booklet
highlights some of the key issues and explains in very simple terms what the first draft Constitution says.
A Constitution is a set of rules that defines a nation and its Government. It grants authority to the Government and sets out how it will operate.
It is the “supreme law of the land”. Therefore, it is a law that is higher than ordinary laws that are made by Parliament.
The first draft Constitution recognises this and says that the legal status of the Constitution cannot be challenged in any court or Government
institution. If there are any issues arising from the Constitution, only a Constitutional Court will have the power to deal with those issues.
A Constitution –
¤¤ tells its citizens what kind of a society that person lives in and what the values of that society are;
¤¤ tells the citizens what type of Government they have and defines the powers of that Government so that it cannot misuse its authority; and
¤¤ describes the rights of citizens so that they cannot break laws, exploit other citizens or be exploited by others.
All Zambian citizens must follow the Constitution because every person has the right and the duty to defend the Constitution and to stop anyone
from replacing, suspending, cancelling or illegally changing it.
The first draft Constitution is based on the wishes of the people of Zambia. It is a Constitution in which we, the people of Zambia, use
our power as citizens to recognise and agree that –
¤¤ God Almighty is the highest authority;
¤¤ Zambia is a Christian Nation but that every person has the right to belong to any other religion he or she wants to;
¤¤ human rights and freedoms of every person must be respected and that every community in Zambia is equally important;
¤¤ we will maintain democracy, transparency, accountability and good governance and that we will use our rights to decide how we will rule ourselves;
¤¤ we will make sure that the Government uses its powers to develop the country for everyone’s benefit;
¤¤ women and men are equal and that they both have the right to take part in creating political, economic and social structures;
¤¤ Zambia will remain a free, united, inseparable, multiethnic, multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-party democratic independent Nation; and
¤¤ Government must accept and respect whatever we decide as a people.