A history of the legislature in Zambia, 1948 – 1991

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Cheembo, Keith
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The University of Zambia
This study examines the history of the legislature in Zambia from 1948 to 1991. The study traces the origin of the Legislature to 1924 when a Legislative Council (Legco) was instituted in order to protect the interests of white settlers. A qualitative method of study was used. However, the study notes that in 1948 concerns of Africans began to attract the attention of the Council when enlightened Africans began to demand for direct representation as opposed to indirect representation by nominated white officials. It examines how in 1948 two Africans were admitted to the Legco through the African Representative Council. Africans only began to participate in elections in 1959 through a racial Benson constitution. The study analyses how discriminatory franchise kept majority Africans out of the Legco until 1962 when they were allowed to participate in elections through universal adult suffrage. The 1962 elections which resulted into a coalition government between United National Independence Party (UNIP) and African National Congress (ANC) produced a Legco renamed National Assembly with the majority members being Africans. Further changes were made to the National Assembly after the 1964 multi-party independence elections which were won by UNIP while ANC and National Progressive Party (NPP) emerged as opposition parties. The 1964 National Assembly was dominated by Africans with a few Europeans under the NPP. The study further assesses how the National Assembly operated when a One-Party System of government was introduced in 1973. During the One-Party System era, only UNIP members qualified to contest as Members of Parliament. Against this background, the study analyses the role played by UNIP backbenchers during the One-Party State period in Parliament. Finally, it discusses the factors which led to the re-introduction of Multi-Party System of government in the country and the eventual defeat of UNIP by the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) in 1991. Key words: Constitution, Elections, Parliament, Democracy, One-Party and Multi-Party
Constitution--Elections, , Democracy-- One-Party and Multi-Party--State