Chembe PF member of parliament Sebastian Kopulande says the legislative process of the country cannot be held to ransom by one organization refusing to be part of it.
And Kopulande says calls to withdraw Bill 10 are unnecessary and uninformed.
Speaking when he featured on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview, Kopulande who was also a member of the parliamentary select committee which scrutinized Bill 10, said despite the refusal by LAZ to submit before his committee, there was an influx of people who made submissions.
Kopulande said the process could not be deemed as lacking credibility on account of one organization’s decision to shun it.
“There is no one organization that makes the process credible or not credible through their participation or non- participation. LAZ, for instance, chose not to appear and instead went to court. However, LAZ was one of those that submitted to the Ministry of Justice. Later on, they decide not to submit to the committee and chose to go to court, that is their democratic right. And within its power, the court passed its ruling,” Kopulande said.
“The legislative process of the country cannot be held to ransom by one organization, even if they are a law organization. Constitution-making is not a preserve of lawyers, it is a preserve and responsibility and duty of the citizens. It is consensus but the consensus is not the same as unanimity. To reach consensus means the majority must agree. It does not mean that 100 per cent of the players must all agree. That is unanimity. We seek consensus and not unanimity. In the report that we produced, on all the 79 clauses that were proposed to remain in the constitution, we went through a consensus.”
He said the process was inclusive.
“Bill 10 was drafted in full view of all the 450 plus members of the National Dialogue Forum and in full view of the entire citizenry of this republic because it was drafted on a big screen which was being televised live on Parliament TV and live on radio. There was an influx of people that wanted to come and submit and we admitted everybody who wanted to appear hence the reason we sat for an unprecedented period of 26 days,” Kopulande said.
And Kopulande said calls to have the Bill withdrawn from Parliament were unnecessary.
“There were 79 clauses in Bill 10. The committee rejected some. [Those calling for the Bill to be withdrawn are saying that] as a result of not knowing the parliamentary process. The parliamentary process operates in this way; a bill is brought, submitted to the committee, the committee recommends amendments and amendments are made. You cannot say [that] withdraw the bill and then take the contents of the report and then amend the bill and then bring it back to the committee. Why withdraw the bill? For what purpose? How do you put a system that you do not trust? Who elected me to Parliament? It’s the people. How can the same people who elected me to Parliament to go and make laws not trust? No,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kopulande appealed to Zambians to fear nothing as the legislators would abide by the select committee report to remove contentious clauses from the Bill.
“That (ignoring the report by the select committee) is a very unlikely situation. It could happen but hypothetically so. I have confidence in our system because the system is set up for a particular purpose. The actual final outcome of Bill 10 is the outcome of the committee process. I read that. It is what the minister said. So, fellow Zambians, you do not have reason to fear,” said Kopulande.