Certain political players are influencing some chiefs to rebel against the Litunga and government so that they create confusion in the province and cause the area to become a “sticky point” in the politics of Zambia, says Vice-President Inonge Wina.
And Vice-President Wina says government will not withdraw the Constitution Amendment Bill N0.10 because it has come very far with it and going backward is not an option.
Speaking in parliament during the vice president’s question time, Friday, Vice-President Wina said the three chiefs who went to State House to meet President Edgar Lungu were not seeking for recognition from the Head of State but rather went to ask for protection from irate family members.
“Mr Speaker, some questions are raised by imaginations to create divisions between the central government and that of the Barotse Royal Establishment. There is Barotse Royal Establishment in Western Province, there is Bemba Royal Establishment in Northern [and] so, Mr Speaker, I think some of these observations by some of our colleagues are meant to do something else. The President has no power to install chiefs. The President is merely requested to gazette a chief. In fact, the current constitution does not even allow that. The three chiefs that visited State House came to State House to seek personal protection from their families. And I also explained that it is government’s duty and mandate to protect every citizen of this country,” Vice-President Wina said.
“So, the chiefs were not asking to be recognized nor did the President state that he was recognizing them as chiefs, no. He was merely asking the police to protect those people because some of them complained that they were being harassed by their own relatives due to succession disputes. What is happening now is that certain political players are influencing some of the chiefs to rebel against the Litunga and to rebel against government so that there is confusion in the area so that Western Province becomes a sticky point in the politics of Zambia. That we cannot allow because Western Province is part and parcel of this nation Zambia.”
And Vice-President Wina said government would not withdraw Bill N0.10 because the document had come a long way.
“It’s a Constitution for the Zambian people, Mr Speaker, and not a constitution for the PF. And as such, this constitution Bill Amendment N0.10 will be brought to the House with a view of participation of all the relevant stakeholders in the House. Mr Speaker, as for the withdrawal of the Bill, that is not possible. We have come very far and we cannot go backward,” she said.
The Vice-President appealed to participate in the Bill amendment process and help in putting up a goof governance system that will respond to the people’s aspirations.
“The leader of the opposition should be assured that there are no injections of new provisions in the Constitution Amendment N0.10. Mr Speaker, government has made it very clear that those who feel that there are some contentious issues that are embedded in our constitution have a platform to express their feelings on how we can collectively address these matters so that we can amend the Constitution to enable us as Zambians to put in place a good governance system that will respond to the aspirations of the Zambian people. So we look forward, Honourable Mr Speaker, to our colleague’s participation in the substantive discussions in the Constitution Amendment N0.10,” she said.
And asked if President Lungu would pay back for making ministers illegally stay in office in 2016 after the dissolution of parliament, Vice-President Wina said the court decision could be challenged in through other courts.
“Mr Speaker, I wish I could be told who misled who? Because as far as I know is that those ministers who were in office not that they were doing nothing. They were working for the Government of the Republic of Zambia. Some of you were members of parliament and know what transpired. And the constitution is very clear on how Zambians should be remunerated for the work they do. So, if the ministers were in office right after their term, that matter is still being considered. Mr Speaker, our colleagues should not be in the habit of politicizing everything and even straight forward matters. It’s a well know fact government wishes to reaffirm its respect for the rule of law. And the courts have decided and that decision can be challenged through other courts of law. So, Mr Speaker, it’s not possible to give an appropriate answer or a final answer but this will be done in due course,” said Vice-President Wina.