Zambian bishops encourage ‘people-driven’ constitution

Lusaka, Zambia, Jun 13, 2013 / 02:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Catholic bishops of Zambia have urged locals to be vigilant in calling for a new, “people-driven” constitution to help advance development in the country.

“Even though we cannot eat a constitution, a good constitution will ensure that there is food on our tables, medicine in our hospitals and that quality education is offered in our schools,” Father Cleophas Lungu, the secretary general of the Zambian Episcopal Conference, told a June 11 meeting of civil society organizations.

Fr. Lungu said the need for a new constitutional order is “indisputable.” A new constitution must “embrace the true aspirations of well-meaning Zambians and thereby stand the test of time.”

“After 17 wasted years, we strongly feel, think and believe that time has come for our nation to deliver,” he said. “Yes, for us, a new constitution is a must because we see it as a tool for social, economic and political development of our country.”

He urged the Catholic Church and other civil society organizations to remain “vigilant and prophetic” to counter political self-interest and to organize positive political pressure.

“Because of our deep rooted love and passion for our people, we refuse to stay idle and simply watch and pray that we have a constitution one day,” he added.

Zambia’s ruling Patriotic Front party has promised a new constitution for the country. Proposals are presently under review, with a deadline set for June 30, the Times of Zambia reports.

Fr. Lungu said the constitutional review process is “a moment of grace and truth which we must not allow to pass by in vain.”

“We want to aspire for a better Zambia through the enactment of a people-driven constitution,” he said.

The report could mark renewed public attention to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which will give over $9 million in grants to 214 organizations in 2013.

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