LEADER of Opposition in the National Assembly Jack Mwiimbu says it is his expectation that President Edgar Lungu will announce the withdrawal of the Constitution Amendment Bill Number 10 of 2019 when he addresses Parliament this Friday.
But UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma says his party does not expect President Lungu to give Zambians any hope in his highly-anticipated national address, arguing that the Head of State remains unwilling to address the nation on critical issues affecting citizens.
In an interview with News Diggers!, Mwiimbu observed that Bill 10 was such a contentious issue that needed to be withdrawn and referred back to all relevant stakeholders for reforms.
“As leader of the Opposition in the House, my major expectation from the President’s address is for him to announce that Bill 10 has been withdrawn from Parliament and referred back to stakeholders so that consensus is achieved over the constitution-making process. You are aware that the constitution-making process in this country has always been contentious, and in this particular matter, which is before Parliament, both the UPND and the PF and other stakeholders, have issues with the current Bill number 10. So, the most prudent thing to do is to refer the matter back to the stakeholders so that issues that are contentious are removed from Bill 10. The President is coming to address the House on national values, but I think that the Bill 10 also addresses some of issues which speak to national values. Although issues of national values are very wide, some of the issues that are contained in Bill 10 hinge on the values that we have as a country and, therefore, it would be very important for the President to give this matter the required attention,” advised Mwiimbu in an interview.
But when contacted to hear the party’s expectation of the Presidential address, Kakoma said the UPND was not expecting anything significant from President Lungu’s address.
“From our experience so far, all the State of the Nation addresses he has been making to Parliament have been nothing of substance. So, we don’t expect him to say anything this time around. Of course, we have called ourselves for him to address the nation, to tell the nation about what has caused gassing, why he can’t stop it. But he has opted to keep quiet. We have also told him to stop political violence, but he has not addressed those issues. We’ve been telling him to find a solution to load-shedding, but he has not listened. We’ve told him to solve the hunger situation in this country, but he’s not done anything. So, we really don’t expect him to tell us anything new,” said Kakoma in a separate interview.
“The last…address to Parliament on National Values and Principles, we were telling him that the best value that we cherish in our country is democracy, and he must address the issues of democracy in Zambia. But he has opted to embrace dictatorship! We’ve had our freedom of assembly curtailed. Each time we want to campaign, he’s arresting us! We want to mobilize, he’s stopping us. So, that is the President that we have, he doesn’t listen.”