Zambia: Mulungushi Women’s Constitutional Declaration – No referendum, no constitution; No women, no constitution!

Zambia: Mulungushi Women’s Constitutional Declaration – No referendum, no constitution; No women, no constitution!

Date: July 22, 2012
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The NGO Coordinating Committee continues to lead activists in keeping gender high in the constitution making process. The just ended Women’s Constitutional Conference held from 13 – 15 June 2012 came up with the Mulungushi Women’s Constitutional Declaration and a mobilisation plan for inclusion of women’s constitutional rights.

The declaration added women’s voice to that of other civil society organisations demanding for the adoption of the republican Constitution through a referendum and the immediate set up of the Referendum Commission. This would provide the opportunity for the expansion and amendment of the Bill of Rights.

The parties to the Women’s Declaration on Engendering the Republican Constitution include the labour movement, the private sector, traditional leaders and organisations under the umbrella of the Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Council (NGOCC). They agreed that everyone was a mobiliser.The mobilisation plan includes:
– Sensitisation to promote and defend the Mulungushi Women’s Declaration.
– Mobilisation for dissemination and input into the community consultations, District, Provincial and National Constitution Conventions.
– Selection of delegates to participate at the above mentioned fora.
– Following the release of a second Draft Constitution the Women’s Movement should begin mobilisation for Referendum – including;
– Assessing whether the women’s demands have been included in the draft Constitution.
– Conduct a mapping of registered polling stations in your areas.
– Conduct mapping of eligible voters.
– Conduct voter education on the Referendum.

The conference highlighted that it will be imperative to ensure that key provisions of the SADC Gender Protocol of the SADC Gender Protocol are included in the constitution. WLSA-Zambia represents the NGOCC in the Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance.

Key issues raised during the conference included – the need to incorporate gender equity in terms of economic empowerment, the right to own land and housing, recognition of education as an important tool for the empowerment of women and women’s political empowerment through proportional representation in all decision making structures.

Sarah Longwe, a member of the NGOCC and GL Zambia board member gave an update of where the constitutional process is at.

Members of the community are expected to self-organise consultative platforms such as association meetings, club meetings, church meetings, interest group meetings or workshops, sector meetings or workshops so that they exchange views and prepare comments on critical provisions of the first draft Constitution up to 31 July 2012.

There is increased interest by the members of the public to participate in the constitution making process. After 31 July 2012 district consultative for a will be held. Each district will have a managed consultative forum in the form of workshops.

Provincial conventions will follow to make resolutions that will be forwarded to the National and Sector Groups Convention. Comments from local and international experts, which will be submitted directly to the Technical Committee, will be debated at this level.


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