Draft Constitution includes 50 % plus one, dual citizenship
The Technical Committee on Drafting the Zambian Constitution (TCDZC) has today launched public consultations on the Constitution making process. The Chairperson of the Committee, Justice Annel M. Silungwe, unveiled the first draft of the Constitution which will be released to the public for review. The public consultations will last for 40 days and within this period, stakeholders and members of the public will be able to review the contents of the working document and make comments.
The draft Constitution provides for the fifty percent plus one clause which stipulates that in order to become republican President, a candidate has to receive not less than fifty percent plus one vote of the total valid votes cast. In the event that the candidate with the highest number of votes does not meet this requirement, a second election shall be held within 30 days of the initial one. The second election shall only be contested by the two candidates who obtained the highest number of votes in the initial election and the second highest number of votes respectively. The candidate who gets the highest number of valid votes in the second election shall then be declared duly elected President.
Further the draft Constitution provides that the republican vice presidency be an elective position. According to this provision, the Vice- President shall be elected as a running mate to a presidential candidate. “An election to the office of Vice-President shall be conducted at the same time as that of an election to the office of President so that a vote cast for a presidential candidate is a vote cast for the vice-presidential candidate, and if the presidential candidate is elected, the vice-presidential candidate is also elected,” it states in part. Should a sitting President be removed from office, become incapacitated or die during their term of office, the elected Vice President shall take over office for the rest of the presidential term.
The draft Constitution also provides for dual citizenship. “A citizen shall not lose citizenship by acquiring the citizenship of another country. A citizen who, before the commencement of this Constitution, acquired the citizenship of another country and, as a result, ceased to be a citizen shall be entitled to apply to the Citizenship Board of Zambia to regain that citizenship,” it states in part.
The draft provides for a bill of rights that has been broadened by the introduction of more rights for women, youth, children, the disabled and older members of the public.
Committee Chairperson Justice Silungwe said the committee will re-convene to consider the comments that will be made on this first draft and prepare the second draft which will be validated by the national convention.
“The final draft Constitution will then be prepared and submitted to his Excellency, the President of the republic of Zambia and simultaneously, to the people of Zambia,” he said.
Editor’s note: The draft Constitution can be accessed on the newly launched site www.zambianconstitution.org