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February 2 2013 | ZAMBIA

Lusaka Times: Zambia – Death penalty clause raises heated debite in Livingston. The voice of the Church supports life. (EN)

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Death penalty clause raises heated debate in Livingstone

There was a heated debate over Article 28, Right to life whether the death sentence should be maintained or be eliminated from the first draft constitution in the on-going southern province convention.

Most delegates unanimously upheld Article 28 clause 3 which states that ‘a person may be deprived of life if that person has been convicted of capital offence and sentenced to death,’

But others argued that it would defeat the preamble which declares the republic as a Christian nation saying we are governed by the principles of the Bible which says thou shall not kill.

Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC), Livingstone bishop secretary, Fr. Clifford Mulasikwanda said the principles of Christianity while Monze central parliamentarian, Jack Mwiimbu insisted that the clause stands as it is in the draft constitution.

However, convention chairperson, Solomon Muzyamba put the motion to a vote that would be conducted through a secret ballot by tomorrow with the session closing with a prayer from Fr. Mulasikwanda asking God for guidance overnight for the voting process over the motion by the delegates.

Earlier, Delegates at the on-going Southern Province Constitutional Consultative Convention resolved that the Zambia adopts a federal system of governance.

The delegates resolved that Zambia should adapt to the federal system of governance but still remain a one Unitary State.

Making amendments to the first draft constitution, the delegates resolved that the words “devolved system of governance” in the Preamble should be replaced with the words “federal system of governance”.

The delegates said once the Preamble is amended, it will allow the local people to manage their own resources in a more amicable manner.

The Preamble in the current draft constitution reads” RESOLVE AND UPHOLD the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural character of our nation and the self actualisation of people living in different Provinces of Zambia and their right to manage their own local affairs and resources in a devolved system of governance within a unitary State.

Convention Chairperson, Solomon Muzyamba, ordered the house to go for a ballot vote after a lengthy debate at which the majority scored 90 votes against the opposing 57 while one delegate abstained out of the total 148 total votes casted.

Meanwhile, the constitutional delegates have resolved that Article 47 be amended so that the State should compensate claims by victims as ruled in the courts of law within the period of three months.

Under the current draft constitution, Article number 47 (3) sub clause (e) states that “the judgement may be enforced by execution against the state after one year of the delivery of judgement”.



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