Mwenya Mukuka – Lusaka, Zambia
This is according to a statement signed by Caritas Zambia Executive Director Eugene Kabilika. He made the remarks on behalf of all Caritas Zambia Diocesan Directors.
Key principles of Catholic Social Teaching
“We agree with the Bishops on the need for inclusive consultations on matters concerning the amendment of Zambia’s 2016 Constitution. When Bishops analyse political events, they do so in the light of the Word of God and the Social Teaching of the Church. Bill No. 10 falls short of promoting some of the key principles of the Social Teaching of the Church,” said Kabilika.
He added, “While the constitution-making process is a common good for Zambians, the government refused to amend the National Dialogue Forum Bill (NDF), which would have set the tone for national unity and healing.”
The Bill has lapsed and should not be insisted upon
Caritas Zambia Directors from the Dioceses say that, in any case, according to Parliamentary Standing Orders, Bill No. 10 lapsed on 4 June 2020 and it was wrong to insist on it.
Caritas Zambia has since repeated the call made by the Zambian Bishops on 9 June 2020 that Bill 10, should be withdrawn.
“We call upon the government to listen to the voice of reason. Amendments to the Constitution of Zambia should be based on the widest consultation and consensus-building,” Kabilika said..
Bill No.10 has polarised the nation
Recently, President of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop George Cosmas Lungu said Constitution Amendment Bill No. 10 was polarising Zambians and should be withdrawn from parliament. Explaining the Bishops’ objections, Secretary-General of the Bishops’ Conference, Fr. Cleophas Lungu, said the amendments were too radical. He said the ruling party had hijacked the process for its own political ends.
“To begin with, in terms of the main objectives: When we were embarking on this journey, it was our understanding that the aim was to address the lacunas (gaps) in the amended Constitution of 2016. It was our view that the law needed some refinement. Alas, we see now that the Patriotic Front Government has gone beyond the original objective. Some wholesale changes are being proposed that will radically change the nature of the Constitution and even the nature of our young but maturing democracy,” said Fr. Cleophas Lungu.