CONSTITUTION Amendment Bill number 10 of 2019 has been deferred to a later date within the current sitting.

Justice Minister Given Lubinda sought permission of the House, “with a heavy heart”, to put off debates on the bill for undisclosed reasons, Wednesday afternoon.

Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini, however, cautioned Lubinda to ensure that a date is found within Parliament’s current sitting, emphasizing that Bill 10 cannot be tabled at a later date than the last day of the current sitting.

After the House adopted the report of the committee on media and information technology, the Clerk of the National Assembly announced the presumption of debate on the Bill 10 motion of 17th March, 2020 and Chipata central PF member of parliament Moses Mawere, who was on the floor before the House adjourned sine die, continued debating.

In his debate, Mawere brought to the attention of the House all the “progressive” clauses in Bill 10 which the people of Chipata Central wanted to be incorporated in the national constitution to ensure that they were not left out on governance issues.

“Mr Speaker, even as I stand here representing the people of Chipata Central, the people of Chipata Central have told me categorically that the women of Chipata Central want to represent themselves here in this House. Surely, Mr Speaker, who would want to be against that? The youths of Zambia are saying they want to represent themselves in this House, surely who doesn’t want that gesture? The differently abled people, Mr Speaker, are also requesting to be represented here. What else can we do for them? Worse still, Mr Speaker, men of this nation are saying they want to be represented in this Chamber. So surely, this is a good gesture which all of us need to embrace,” debated Mawere.

“Mr Speaker, issues of Zambia being a Christian nation, indeed we are a Christian nation. So enshrining this clause in our Constitution is a matter which should not be debated by anyone. But we as Zambians, Mr Speaker, we need to embrace it and those who are walking away from this process, it means they have got a different agenda which is not being supported by the Zambian people.”

But when asked to wind up debate, Lubinda sought the leave of the House to defer debates to later date within the course of this sitting without stating why.

“Mr Speaker, it is with a very heavy heart that I seek leave of the House to defer consideration of the bill to a later date albeit within the current meeting. I thank you Sir,” submitted Lubinda.

But in response, the Speaker cautioned Lubinda ensure that he found a date not later than the last day of the current sitting before granting leave to defer Bill 10.

“Very well. Honourable minister, you are obviously aware that this bill has had a long traverse since its first publication and as we speak now, we are in the last meeting of the fourth session and as you’ve rightly pointed out, any deferment to be allowed can only be in the course of this meeting. Therefore, I would like you to ensure that through your office and the office of the Clerk, you closely coordinate your efforts and indicate in good time the day when you are ready to proceed and conclude this particular matter. And of course as you’ve already implied yourself, that cannot be on a day later than the last day of this meeting. So leave is granted,” said Speaker Matibini.