Kalomo UPND member of parliament Harry Kamboni says his party is ready to block the Constitution Amendment Bill because it is dangerous in its current state.
On Friday, Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo presented the Constitution Amendment Bill before the House on behalf of his Justice counterpart Given Lubinda.
Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini then referred the bill to the parliamentary select committee.
“The committee is required to submit its report on the bill to the House in due course. Honourable members who wish to make submissions on the bill are free to do so within program of work of the committee,” said Speaker Matibini.
But speaking on Muvi TV’s The Assignment programme, Kamboni said it was suicidal for any MP to vote for the Constitution Amendment Bill in its current “dangerous state”.
“This Constitution is not for Patriotic Front. If I may ask, who gives who the constitution? Does the government give the people the constitution or it’s the people of Zambia that give government the constitution? It’s the people of Zambia that say, here are the rules (constitution), govern us. You do not give yourself as a president the rule that you want to use to govern the country, no! We are talking about Zambia’s constitution, here,” Kamboni said.
And responding to Mwembeshi Independent MP, Machila Njamba, who featured on the same programme and said he was ready to vote with the PF on the Constitution Amendment Bill at second reading but that he would vote with the UPND at third reading should the PF bring in items outside the NDF resolutions, Kamboni described his reasoning as dangerous.
He said the UPND stood ready to block the Constitution Amendment Bill right from the start.
In respect to the National Dialogue Forum (NDF) resolutions, Kamboni said it was a Patriotic Front (PF) driven program to consolidate their stay in office using the back door.
He insisted that the NDF was flawed from the start and favoured the PF.
But Njamba who said he had attended the NDF with two minds, accused UPND MPs of playing double standards in the manner they were handling the Constitution Amendment Bill.
“A Parliamentary Committee is a mini parliament where you can walk out and collapse it. That NDF thing went to the parliamentary Committee and members of the opposition attended those meetings and got submissions from the people which they brought to Parliament. Why do UPND MPs sit in these Committee meetings and draw allowances yet pretend by walking out when the main Parliament is sitting? Of course, there is a lot of mistrust between UPND and PF that maybe people will manipulate the system,” said Njamba.
In response, however, Kamboni said even if UPND had attended NDF, nothing could have changed because the rules were defective right from the start and tilted towards the ruling party.
“At committee stage, the MPs who voted were not many. Under a normal system, the bill should not have gone to the main parliament. If you vote at committee stage and it’s rejected, it should not go to parliament. But surprisingly, it went ahead even if it was rejected. That is how stubborn PF is! And Even if you attended the NDF, nothing could have changed. PF had numbers, they invited friends. For instance, the Bahati Member of Parliament was invited to sit in those meetings before he was sworn in. How do you invite somebody who hasn’t been sworn as MP to attend a meeting when he was not supposed to be there?” asked Kamboni.