2016 Referendum

What is a Referendum?

A21 Referendum Panel (4) referendum is a process that allows citizens to approve or reject a proposed law to be passed by the Legislature. In a referendum voters are given the opportunity to directly decide through a vote on a particular subject matter. 

All eligable citizens have the right to either accept or reject a question posed. A voter is expected to choose “YES” or “NO” on the question given. This may be regarding a new constitution, a constitutional amendment or a proposed law.

In 2016, Zambia will be holding a referendum to agree or disagree to the amendments to the Constitution to enhance the bill or rights contained in part lll of the constitution of Zambia and to repeal and replace Article 79 of teh Constitution of Zambia.

Referendum Question

“Do you agree to the amendment to the Constitution to enhance the Bill of Rights contained in part III of the Constitution of Zambia and to repeal and replace article 79 of the Constitution of Zambia?”

What is the Bill of Rights?

A Bill of Rights is a set legal guarantees that are specially set out within the Constitution to protect fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals. These guarantees and freedoms include freedom of conscience, expression, assembly, association, liberty, life, security of a person, protection of the law, protection for privacy of the home and other property without compensation.

The Bill of Rights is fundamental to democracy and constitutionalism and is the basis of Zambia’s social, political, legal, economic and cultural policies and state action. It formally enshrines those fundamental rights and liberties considered essential for all people in the country. It affirms the democractiuce values that border on human dignity, equality and freedom.

What is being altered (amended) in the Bill Rights?

Civil and Political Rights : These are provided for in the current Bill of rights. In the proposed Bill of rights, Additional Articles have been included while others have been modified.

What will be new in the Bill of Rights?

  • Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights
  • Further and Special Rights


Civil and Political Rights

  • Protection from discrimination
  • Right to life
  • Protection from inhuman treatment and security of person
  • Freedom of conscience, belief and religion
  • Freedom of expression
  • Access to information
  • Freedom of association
  • Freedom of movement and residence
  • Equality before the law
  • Fair trial
  • Equality for both gender


  • Choice of trade, occupation or profession
  • Consumer rights
  • Labour relations
  • Language, culture and intellectual property rights

Further and Special Rights

  • Further protection and rights relating to marriage and family
  • Special and further rights for children
  • Further rights for youth
  • Further protection of young person
  • Futher rights for persons with disabilities


What is Article 79?

It is an Article of the constitition stating that a referendum is held to amend the article itself and the Bill of Rights.

What is going to replace Article 79?

Part 19A of the proposed Constitution containing Articles 301, 302 and 303. Artcle 301 covers amendents to the constitution and Article 302 specifies which Articles  can be amended without a referendum. In addition to the Bill of Rights, article 303 states Articles that should be amended without a referendum.

In addition to the Bill of Rights, Articles 303 states Articles that should be amended, repealed and replaced  only through a referendum.


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  • It is making sense…job well done

  • Enoch

    I do not agree with the assertion that eligible Zambians will understand the issues relating to the referendum just by reading the fliers and radio and TV adverts. That is not effective. This exercise should not have been combined with the divisive general elections because whatever position is taken by the other side the oposing side will view it with suspicion and will vigorously opose it. This election is extra-ordinary therefore to cram it with the non devisive issue of referendum is ill conceived and i think is not in good faith hence the outcome will not be credible.

  • Wisdom Kaungu Kaposhi II

    I would to pass disappointment over how this whole process has been conducted, i must clearly alot of us Zambian’s don’t to understand what this process is all about and what it means. others take it casually and politcise it. much is not being done to educate people about the Constitution amendment process and the referendum, what we’ll be voting for or what it is we’re voting against. the impact it’ll bring when we vote for it or when we vote against it.
    and there’s no political part that has taken up the challenge of even educating people about this process yet we’re busy arguing who did what who what this who did that who said what or what.
    Please emphasis the need from all political players to educate their voters on Constitution process at hand.
    Sent with a heavy heart


  • I know nothing referendum

    • Kindly read our update here.

      • Concerned Patriot

        Obviously organising this referendum has given ECZ a number of challenges especially in terms of getting people to understand what the process is all about. As we head into the final three weeks, I am curios to know what has proved to be the biggest drawback of this referendum for the ECZ so far and what plans you have to overcome it if you haven’t already and how we as citizens may play a part in helping you achieve this?

  • Elijah

    Can you please review to people, what are further and special rights in the Bill of right?

    • Elijah

      Can you please tell the people of Zambia clearly,what are further and special rights in the Bill of rights?

      • Sure Elijah and will get back to you with the whole proposed articles showing how they appear in the proposed articles 46-51 of the Draft Constitution.

  • nothing wrong here… We’ll go for YES.

  • musole chipango

    i personally i feel there is need to amend the bill of rights and i will vote in this year referendum.

  • Nasilele Mubiana

    is the Referendum going to be held every after 5years also?

  • Anold Kabila

    It just okey and I have being educated.

  • kenneth kaunda

    the whole referendum process is not clarified properly. how are people supposed to know what article 301, 302 and 303 say?

  • Brian

    Thanks for the update

  • Simutowe Francis

    Well summarised comrades, hw i wish pipo especialy the CSOs were busy sensitzing the masses with ths information instead of the retrogresiv stance they hv taken of oposing n blaming govt n the commision.

  • Simutowe Francis

    I also intend 2 deseminat ths information on our groups on facebook

  • clive banda

    Am very glad u finally attached the said bill of rights. I now know what I will be voting for. Otherwise you are doing a good job keep it up.

  • Kelvin

    My comment is on the time that has been given on understanding the bill of rights, they would have given it more time for people to know and understand fully.

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