Power to the People: Documentary On Newstalk

Do we take our democratic rights for granted?

Power to the People: Documentary On Newstalk

Power To The People: Documentary On Newstalk

Do we take our democratic rights for granted? In the latest Documentary on Newstalk, Producer Brian Kenny travels to Zambia to explore the fight to get a Bill of Rights enacted into the Zambian constitution and the forces that oppose it in: “Power To The People”.

Power to the People will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 1st October at 8am, and repeated on Saturday 7th October at 10pm

When we assemble freely in public, have the right to clean water, employment, medical care and social welfare we may end up taking it for granted. In Zambia, despite a democratic proess to elect the government many of these rights are not guaranteed in the country’s constitution. An organsiation called the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) funded by Misean Cara set out to change this with years of sustained campaigning often under duress.

After many years of pressure, the JCTR joined with a wide range of civil society groups, known as the Grand Coalition, to make one major push towards getting a Bill of Rights enacted into the constitution.  On a tidal wave of pressure,they pushed forward against the odds being stacked against them and amid a climate of unease, distrust and fear it all came to a head when they were given a date for a referendum.

The JTCR campaigned for the institutionalisation of economic, social and cultural rights through an expanded Bill of Rights of the National Constitution. Economic, social and cultural rights were not guaranteed, and the JTCR believed that these rights would reinforce poverty reduction efforts. The JTCR campaign was powered people-centric with hundreds of consultation sessions for communities around Zambia.

The JCTR was founded in 1988, and has been promoting integral human development in line with gospel teachings, and the guidance from the Society of Jesus through its General Congregations going back as far as 1975. The promotion of human rights is an integral part of its mission.

In this documentary, Brian Kenny talks with some of the key groups that campaigned for the hearts and minds of the Zambian people. He also highlights the fake news that some politicians disseminated to the public to curb the success of the campaign, and how the Grand Coalition fought until the end to get the referendum passed.

This documentary was supported with funding from Misean Cara.

LISTEN LIVE: Power to the People will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 1st October at 8am, and repeated on Saturday 7th October at 10pm

LISTEN LIVE ONLINE: Power to the People can also be listened to online at: www.newstalk.com

PODCAST: Podcast available after the broadcast at: www.newstalk.com/documentaryonnewstalk 

CREDITS: “Power to the People” was produced and recorded by Brian Kenny and made with support from Misean Cara.


Established in 2004, Misean Cara is a movement of 91 vibrant missionary organisations working in more than 60 countries. We work with some of the most marginalised and vulnerable people in developing countries. Adopting a human rights focus, we support communities addressing basic needs in the areas of education, health, and livelihoods, as well as advocating for economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights. At times of humanitarian crisis, the trusted and long‐term presence of missionaries in affected communities also allows for rapid, efficient and targeted responses.

Misean Cara and our members work collectively and individually through the missionary approach to development. This framework is based on five values: respect, justice, commitment, compassion and integrity.

Our Strategy 2017‐2021 identifies five goals:

  1. Uphold the right to quality education
  2. Uphold the right to better health, clean water and sanitation
  3. Uphold the right to sustainable livelihoods
  4. Uphold and advocate for human rights
  5. Enhance and promote the missionary approach to development.

Further expressing our desire to reach the most vulnerable and marginalised, the Strategy will see Misean Cara bringing a particular focus to bear on targeting five groups: women, children, refugees, displaced people and people with disabilities.