KABWE Central PF member of parliament Tutwa Ngulube says Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) calling for the rejection of Constitution Amendment Bill Number 10 do not have valid reasons.
In an interview, Ngulube asked the consortium of CSOs still pushing for parliamentarians to reject Bill 10 to respect government’s position the Bill because they represented the people of Zambia.
“The reasons they gave are invalid. For us, we feel we do not represent CSOs, we represent the electorate that vote for us. So, we will listen more to the people who vote for us and not people who are paid by donors to destabilize the constitution-making process. Some of those CSOs are making noise to continue getting paid from the detractors of democracy in Zambia. The constitution-making process is not an urgent situation, it started in 2017 and the country and people are aware of the history. People have gone round the country and it has been through all the processes; it is not like it has just started now. Our Constitution has a lot of problems and everybody is agreeable to that, even the CSOs, themselves. So, why should we fail to amend the Constitution? So, just like the opposition, the NGOs are being hypocritical because on one hand, they are rejecting the Constitution, yet they are busy practicing what they are rejecting. For example, the issue of coalition government, they are rejecting it, but they are forming alliances,” Ngulube argued.
He vowed that the ruling party would not give up until Bill 10 was eventually enacted into law.
“If the Bill does not pass, there is a second chance; we will wait for another session because if it fails to go through, it cannot be brought again in the same session. So, we will have to wait for another session, which is next year after elections, we have to try again. Let the CSOs wait for us to do the correct thing because the people of Zambia elected the Patriotic Front to govern. They did not elect the CSOs so they should respect our position!” said Ngulube, who is also deputy parliamentary chief whip.
A consortium of CSOs, which included Chapter One Foundation and ActionAid Zambia, among five others, urged members of parliament to choose and embrace public service by rejecting the controversial Bill when Parliament resumed sitting next Tuesday.
“Parliament resumes its sittings on 9th June, 2020, and with it the threat of the enactment of the Constitution Amendment Bill No. 10 of 2019 looms once more. Once again, the mettle of our members of parliament will be tested; will they side with the people of Zambia? We recognize that many Zambians may not realize what is at stake if Bill 10 is enacted. Why does it matter that our Constitution is being amended? How will it affect ordinary Zambians? The Constitution of any country is a social contract binding all the citizens of that country as to how they choose to be governed. Everybody in the country, including the most powerful among us, are bound by the Constitution. The Constitution limits the powers of those whom we choose to govern our country,” the statement read in part.