A constitutional democracy is anchored on a system of government that is built on strong, effective, transparent and accountable institutions of government that are able to provide checks and balances of each other’s operations and functions, ensuring that there’s no arbitrary use of state power. For this system to work effectively, there’s need for an independent and impartial Judiciary because the Judiciary is the defender and protector of human rights; and is duty bound to enforce and advance the rule of law. This function must be carried out independently, regardless of political pressure.
An effective Constitution making process is representative of the hopes and aspirations of the people, the process itself must be consultative, inclusive and transparent. The process requires broad consensus, this calls for the use of effective strategies and mechanism, this requires strong leadership from the gate keepers our democracy, including Civil Society and the Church. The act and process of making a constitutional is high stakes because it redefines access to public power and resources; it aims to distribute power equally; it seeks to address self-government, self-rule or liberty. A durable process is only possible if the constitutional making process reflects diversity of stakeholders and society. The constitutional making process is a legal, social and political process, it is for this reason that constitution making requires technical detail to ensure there is coherence throughout the document and systems of government.
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are agents of liberal democracy and good governance, they play a key role in strengthening democracy, enhancing citizen’s participation and scrutinize the state. It is for this reason that the Southern African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) in partnership with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Zambia Office, organised the Public Forum on the need for Constitution reforms in Zambia. The forum had detailed discussions on the Constitutional making process, the Role of CSOs in the reform process as well as taking stock of the Government’s Three Tier Proposal to Constitutional Reform. At the end of the forum recommendations where made on the opportunities for the reform proposals as well as a working group established to follow up on the recommendations established by the CSOs present for the Constitution Reform Process in Zambia.