SERENJE Central MMD member of parliament Maxwell Kabanda says he will always put the interest of the electorate first whenever he debates parliamentary businesses because they are the reason he is in Parliament.
And Kabanda has challenged critics opposing the Constitutional Amendment Bill Number 10 of 2019 to clearly state what is so conflicting about the Bill, instead of attacking those who support it.
Commenting on concerns by former Secretary to Cabinet Dr Sketchley Sacika, who said MPs defying their party positions on Bill 10 risked losing their seats in Parliament if expelled by their parties, Kabanda stressed that he would always do what his electorate asked him to because they were the reason he was in Parliament.
“Dr Sacika is a Zambian and he is entitled to whatever opinion he can render. But that does not necessarily mean that I can follow what he says. I was elected by the people of Serenje Central constituency on the MMD ticket, you understand? Yes, my number one allegiance is to the party, but it’s not to an individual. The party will not go, but an individual will go. So, if the people of Serenje Central tell me they want a road and then the party tells me not to give them a road, what do you think I should do? I have to listen to what the people have said because they are the ones who elected me. If the people of Serenje Central reject me because I am not representing their interests, the party will not go and force me onto them,” Kabanda said.
“So, there is nothing wrong with a member of parliament representing the interests of the people, even if it’s on Bill 10. There is certainly nothing wrong, and if you are asking what my position on Bill 10 is, I haven’t seen anything wrong with the Bill. However, I am still consulting my electorate on what they think I should debate when the Bill is brought back on the floor of the House. But as for the party position on the Bill, it will be difficult for me to comment on that because I don’t remember honourable Chitika [Elizabeth, the MMD national secretary] calling all members of parliament to agree on a position that we should take as a party on Bill 10. But as an individual, I haven’t seen anything wrong with the Bill.”
And Kabanda challenged those who were opposing Bill 10’s enactment to clearly state what was so conflicting about the Bill.
“What is it that is in Bill 10 that people don’t want? Which clause are they not comfortable with? Which clause in Bill 10 is not representing the interests of the Zambian people? You cannot just say, ‘I don’t want to eat this food because it’s not properly cooked’, even before you taste it. Just seeing someone in the kitchen and you say, ‘don’t bring that food here it’s not properly cooked!’ How? Even before you taste it? So, what is really so bad in Bill 10 for those who are saying Bill 10 is bad? People are saying Bill 10 seeks to remove Article 52 from the Constitution, but it’s not even there! Those are assumptions that, ‘iyayi bakapika nsima bazafakamo mpilipili’ (if they prepare the meal, they will put chilli in it). There is nothing like that, we have been studying this Bill as parliamentarians and we understand interpretation of statutes. So, a person cannot just tell me that this seeks to do this even when it’s not there. They can tell that to people who haven’t been to school, some of us have been to be school and we understand the law. Someone who hasn’t been to law school cannot just tell me anything because me I understand the law,” said Kabanda.