Mazabuka Central UPND member of parliament Gary Nkombo says the PF need a miracle for the Constitution Amendment Bill No. 10 of 2019 to pass in Parliament because they do not have the required two-thirds majority.
And Nkombo, who is also UPND chairman for elections, says clause which strictly defines a minimum qualification for one to be elected to public office has attracted selfish people, who are easily bought, to politics.
In an interview, Nkombo said PF needed a miracle for Bill 10 to pass in Parliament.
“But in the current form, this Constitution that the PF are trying to sneak into Parliament and enact into law has got a crazy system, which they are calling mixed-member representation, which is completely obscure and we don’t even know where they picked that cocktail from, but suffice to say, for now, I think that they will have to make a miracle for that particular Bill 10 to go through on the floor of that House. They will need a miracle!” Nkombo exclaimed.
“So, Zambians, for now, should continue to remain hopeful that in the party of choice, UPND, that is the alternative to the current government, we will first listen to the voice of the people and act according to the dictates of the voices of those people, and not the way the PF have been working for self-preservation because the current Bill 10 anchors its livelihood on one thing only, and that is the PF to preserve themselves in the next election. There is no other thing, everything else is just icing on the cake, the core, the heart and soul of that particular Bill is for them to have an upper-hand in the electoral process and this is the reason why, right now, they are stuck! And I can confirm to you in no uncertain terms, that they don’t have the numbers that they need in that House.”
He said it would be logical for the PF to u-turn on their Bill 10 agenda.
“Now that they don’t have the numbers, anybody reasonable cannot walk through a concrete wall and I am certain that there are a few reasonable people in the PF, and the fact that now that the door has closed in on them, they will have to u-turn, come to the table and discuss. Not only with the UPND, but with the wider society, such as the Church, the civil society, such as even the representatives of the common man because constitution-making is by consensus and not by the will of a chosen few. I think that they have met their ‘Waterloo’, the PF, and it’s only in order, right now in my view, for them to apologize to the country for wasting money in the ND (National Dialogue Forum). We told them that the process protects the contents; everything that you are doing as long as you are not following the processes that are deemed generally acceptable to the wider society, you are shooting yourselves in the foot!” Nkombo said.
And in response to a question on what UPND was doing to avoid creation of by-elections through resignation of office bearers, Nkombo said the Grade 12 clause had attracted selfish people to politics.
“The issue this question raises is those issues of integrity. I want to say that before the law was changed to limit the qualification for anyone who will be vying for public office, be it MP, councilor, council chairman or even mayor, the moment that law was put in there as a statute, we got people who were not for servitude, but rather for self-preservation. And that’s why it is easy now that the PF simply calculates how much of the balance of the period the councilor would get and offer them double. And they will walk away from the noble task of having been elected among many who want to represent others to go and receive 30 pieces of silver and subject the same people whose interest and aspirations they pretended to want to serve, vulnerable, because I know you know that under PF, elections normally do not come without schemishes of violence,” said Nkombo.
“So, your question prompts me to make an appeal to those who are still serving as councilors, council chairpersons, mayors and even members of parliament that this is not a time to sell off your souls to the devil because posterity will judge all of us who play with people’s lives harshly when the time comes. So, what are we doing as a party, we can only go so far by consiatizing them continuously by pleading with them. Those who seem not to be sitting on the pedestal of a calling, but rather than a pedestal of self-preservation.”