Monze Central UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu has told National Dialogue Forum Legal Counsel Tutwa Ngulube to go to hell with this threats against opposition members of parliament who have opted out of the event.
And Mazabuka UPND member of parliament Gary Nkombo has dared conveners of the National Dialogue Forum to commence a litigation process against him for shunning the forum, saying he will defend himself and walk away free.
Last week, Ngulube threatened that UPND members of parliament who had shunned the national dialogue forum would be dealt with according to the Forum Act which he said obligated all MPs to attend, unless with expression permission from the Chairperson, or risk being imprisoned for six months.
But in his uncharacteristic Facebook post, Sunday, Mwiimbu told Ngulube to go to hell.
“Tutwa should go to hell with his threats against the UPND MPs. Let him continue attending the discredited forum. If anything he should be happy that there’s no opposition to their ill conceived legislation. We shall meet in parliament,” Mwiimbu wrote.
When contacted to elaborate his post, Mwiimbu said the forum had been forced on the people of Zambia and it was not a Parliamentarian’s duty to attend “get-together” events.
“Our responsibility as members of parliament is to legislate in Parliament. We have no responsibility to attend conferences, forums and whatever get-together functions in this country. As a member of parliament, I have a responsibility to the people of Zambia to ensure that I legislate on behalf of the people of Zambia. So they can do whatever they want at the forum. If the laws and the proposals are not acceptable to the people of Zambia, we will not support it. As far as I am concerned, that’s not what the people of Zambia wanted. This forum has been imposed on the people of Zambia. The people of Zambia have always been itching for a people-driven Constitution. The people who are attending the forum have been properly selected by PF and that is not what the people of Zambia have been asking for. We as UPND have been advocating for a national dialogue which will discuss a number of issues, including the Constitution. But what they are doing at that forum is to look at the proposals that have been done by PF. Unless they have built in numbers, there is nothing that is changing,” Mwiimbu said.
He also challenged Ngulube to state the law he was quoting when threatening UPND MPs.
“There is no such a law, as far as I am concerned, there is no such law. There is the so-called ‘National Dialogue Forum Act’, that is the Act they are supposed to be referring to. But let Honourable Ngulube tell us which particular section of that law we have broken, which will render us to go to prison. Let him quote for the nation to know,” said Mwiimbu, who is also a lawyer,.
And Nkombo said he would defend himself and walk away free if a litigation process was commenced against him for shunning the forum.
“I made a personal choice not to be part and parcel of that process because my conscious did not allow me to. I am one of those who rejected the Bill before it even became law, in the manner that they put it, it’s extremely discriminatory but they say ‘an MP cannot resign or withdraw from that process’. So what happens to my fundamental right and freedom to choose what I think is good for me? They decided that they were going to put an article to criminalise the resignation or failure to attend the Forum. I was actually surprised this morning when I was listening to Honourable Tutwa Ngulube making empty threats that we risk to be arrested. This is not a Banana Republic where people can just threaten others. So for me I challenge Tutwa to gather the police and come and find me and then see what charge they are going to give me for listening to my conscious. If they want to make the law, they can make it without Gary Nkombo. I don’t believe in this process myself,” Nkombo told the Hot FM breakfast show.
“They must commence the litigation if they want, they can take me anywhere they want, I will defend myself. Don’t forget that any subsidiary law that is not consistent with the Constitution, especially part three of it is null and void to the extent of it’s inconsistency. So that law does not have legs, they can do whatever they want, take me in, take me out. But ultimately I will still walk away. As far as I am concerned, I would rather be a free man in my grave than be a puppet in this earth. I did not want to get money from the Treasury, sitting in that conference and doing nothing, simply because I am scared of prosecution. My conscious would not allow me to get a lot of Kwachas when Zambians need it. I need money but my conscious will not allow me to go and pick up money I think other people deserve better.”
Nkombo insisted that the National Dialogue Forum was a waste of money.
“If they don’t do the right thing, we shall complain. Nothing stops us from complaining. But I want you to know this that they can pass the subsidiary legislation like the Public Order Act, they can pass the Political Parties Bill and Electoral processes but they will not pass the Constitution. This is the reason why, in my own view, when they bring that document, the Constitution for enactment in Parliament, is when the Zambians are going to open their eyes that this is just a waste of time and money, because we from the UPND are not going to give them that support, they need a two thirds majority in order to do that. This is the reason why it would have been more sensible for us to sit together and have an honest discussion, gear in our views and then build consensus and then go in. Don’t forget, even the Church is not participating in this whole thing. And which is the biggest constituency? It’s not even the UPND, it is the Church. The three Church Mother Bodies are the biggest constituency in this country and anybody who wants to ignore that really is shooting themselves in the foot,” said Nkombo.