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Zambia Index
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Constitutional Background

Against the expectations of some prominent founding members of the MMD, major parts of civil society, and the opposition, the Chiluba government did not submit the 1996 constitution to a referendum.  The Mwanakatwe commission allowed for a public discussion and submitted its report with some farreaching recommendations in June 1995.  The government reacted with a 'White Paper' commenting on these propositions. The further elaboration of the Bill of Rights as well as the proposition of a Constitutional Court -- both suggested in the Mwanakatwe Report -- were not included.  The opposition to the draft resulted in a 'Green Paper' by NGOs targeted inter alia against the Christian nation clause in the Preamble ("We ... declare the Republic a Christian nation ...") and the citizenship clause in Art. 34 (3).  The latter restricts presidential candidacy to those Zambians whose parents are "both ... Zambians by birth or descent".  This disqualifies long-time president Kenneth Kaunda -- the "father of the nation" -- as well as most Zambians of Indian descent and Africans who cannot provide the required certificates or other legally accepted evidence of descent.

History and News

  • Nov 1996: Chiluba's MMD wins elections after UNIP boycott.
  • 28 May 1996: New Constitution adopted by parliament.
  • June 1995: Mwanakatwe commission issues report on new constitutional provisions.
  • 1991: The United National Independence Party (UNIP) of Kenneth Kaunda loses to the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) of Frederick Chiluba who also wins presidential elections. The newly adopted election law restricts presidential terms to one re-election.
  • 1973: New Constitution adopted.
  • 1972: National Commission on the Establishment of a One-Party-Participatory Democracy in Zambia (Chona Commission) is established.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - December 16th, 2010 / For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.