Zambia's Constitutional Groundhog Day: Why National Debate about Constitutional Reform is not Going Away Anytime Soon

"Since independence, Zambia has had five major constitutional amendments (an average of one every 10 years), a fact that has raised concerns about the country’s constitutional foundations. The constitution has been made a campaign issue in every presidential election since Zambia’s return to multiparty politics in the 1990s. In recent years, constitutional reform has become increasingly politicised and intransigent. The latest constitutional amendment, announced in January 2016, offered Zambians provisions that had long formed part of their aspirations and demands. Why then was the 2016 constitution recently defeated in a national referendum? This policy briefing demonstrates how the interests of citizens have continually been placed behind the interests of Zambia’s political elite, including in the 2016 referendum."