Nalikwanda UPND member of parliament Geoffrey Lungwangwa says the nation is going through a cloud of political emotions over Bill 10 but there is need to understand that the recommendations which the select committee made are good for Zambia.
And Lungwangwa says political parties need to transcend beyond political party positions on issues that are in the best interest of the country.
Meanwhile, Lungwangwa says it is undemocratic for people to issue threats on his life because he has a dissenting view on a particular issue.
Speaking when he featured on ZNBC’s Sunday interview program, Lungwangwa, who defied his party by not walking out of the House when the state brought Bill 10 for restoration on the order paper recently, said Bill 10 had caused a cloud of emotions.
“We are going through what we may call a cloud of emotions of Bill 10, of the National Dialogue Forum and so on, it has been a cloud of emotions, political emotions, understandably so. But now that we have the select committee position on these various contentious views, I think it is important for those concerned to read the select committee deliberations and recommendations to be able to understand the position of the House of Representatives on Bill 10 proposals. To some extent, it is a question of procedural understanding which could be a problem because as you are aware, some of the people thought that Tuesday last week was voting day on Bill 10 which clearly wasn’t the case and some people feel that Bill 10 in its proposed form is the law of the land which clearly is not the case. What we expect is that these recommendations will be taken seriously to arrive at the amendments of the Constitution,” Lungwangwa said.
“There is need to disseminate this report far and wide so that people are not caught up in the emotion of Bill 10, the way Bill 10 has been proposed, they should be able to make comparison on the way bill was proposed and what the select committee of the House of representatives has been able to come out with on Bill 10. And what I can tell you is that the select committee subjected the bill to the highest level of scrutiny.”
He argued that the recommendations of the select committee were in the best interest of the country.
“The select committee, yes [it is a good thing], it has come up with recommendations which in our view are in the best interest of the country. So the current constitution may not be the best constitution that this country deserves because of a lot of lacunas and it is clear, as a select committee which scrutinized Bill 10, we addressed ourselves to that issue and I can assure you that this document of the select committee is a very good document,” he said.
And Lungwangwa said parties should look beyond political lines on certain matters of national interest.
“We have to transcend sometimes beyond our political party positions and look at what in the best interest of the country and the best interest of the nation, that is how you develop a country,” he said.
He explained that he did not see any need to walk out of parliament when Bill 10 was re-introduced in the House.
“When the walking out took place, the two of us were saying ‘but what’s the point of walking out, this is a simple procedural motion, I don’t think we should go to that extent’. In any case we were members of the select committee that scrutinized the proposed bill and we didn’t see any need really to walk out. No. [We were not briefed on the plan to walk out], I think even if we knew we couldn’t have walked out because it was a simple motion and it didn’t warrant walking out, in our view. I don’t think its undermining the party, I think what was important in our view was to debate. If there was any contentious position for example, we should have debated that simple procedural motion instead of walking out,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Lungwangwa said threats on his life were undemocratic.
“Yes, I am under threat, I have received quite a lot of messages to that effect. Thoroughly people calling me and of course text message. Very direct messages on my life. In the past few days, they have reduced but last week it was the order of the day. Well, I am not [scared for my life] because my conscious is very clear, I am not. So this is a security matter, it has already been handled. It’s very strange [to have threats on my life] because that ought not to be in a democracy,” said Lungwangwa.