Zambian churches in the Christian Council of Zambia (CCZ), along with the Zambia (Roman Catholic) Episcopal Conference (ZEC), and Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ), have formed an alliance with the nation's lawyers, grouped in the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ), to campaign against constitutional changes that would allow President Frederick Chiluba to run for a third term of office.

Chiluba's second five-year term in office ends late this year.

Father Ignatius Mwebe, secretary of ZEC, said the churches and the law association would launch nation-wide campaigns against constitutional changes sought by President Chiluba.

"We will carry this campaign to every province, town and village throughout the country to ensure that our people are sensitized about the constitution," the priest said.

The alliance will organize workshops and seminars, and distribute literature to educate people about the issue.

On Sunday, February 25, clergy in Catholic churches and several Protestant denominations across Zambia read to their congregations the "Oasis Declaration" opposing constitutional changes. The declaration was drafted after a public debate in Zambia's capital, Lusaka, organised by churches and lawyers.

The declaration states: "President Chiluba ought to exercise statesmanship. He should not contest the 2001 presidential elections. The constitution of Zambia is unambiguous in its limitation of the tenure of the presidency to two terms of five years each.

"The people of Zambia have, since 1972, consistently and repeatedly petitioned the various constitutional review commissions to [retain constitutional provisions limiting] the tenure of office of the republican presidency to two terms."

Members of the ruling party Movement for Multiparty ...

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