VICE-President Inonge Wina says the Constitution Amendment Bill Number 10 of 2019 will deal with the continued discrimination in the application of the rule of law in Zambia.
Speaking during the Vice-President Question Time in Parliament, Friday, Vice-President Wina said government had administrative matters to deal with before resuming with the disbursements of the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) funds to beneficiaries.
Responding to a question asked by Kabompo UPND member of parliament Ambrose Lufuma, who wanted to find out when government would arrest PF cadres who had continued to break the law by disrupting radio programmes and public gatherings, Wina said that discrimination in the application of the rule of law would only be dealt with if Bill 10 was enacted.
“Mr Speaker, the discrimination in the application of the rule of law should not be brought to this House by a senior member of this House, and a senior member who is refusing to change this law, so that there is equitable application of this law. Under Bill 10, this issue is supposed to be handled, addressed and amended. If the member is very interested in seeing to it that some of these issues that have been so contentious are dealt with, he should be in this House to debate Bill 10. It is not only this particular one, but there are many other contentious issues in the Constitution that we want to address so that this country’s governance can be put on the right footing,” Vice-President Wina said.
“The Public Order Act is the issue that deals with matters of this nature. When political parties want to hold meetings, rallies, we all inform the police so that the police can address these issues equitably without any discrimination. If the Public Order Act is one of the laws that the Honourable Leader of the Opposition (Jack Mwiimbu) has been refusing to even talk about, or to discuss it, how does he expect any changes of the behaviour of some of the implementers of these policies, which seem to have a negative impact on the conduct of our people? Mr Speaker, as leaders, we should be truthful and we have been given many platforms to address issues of this nature, including using Parliament to change laws that stifle the rights of our people.”
And Vice-President Wina said that government had administrative matters to deal with before the resumption of the SCT programme, which previously triggered the withdrawal of foreign aid owing to irregularities.
“Mr Speaker, there were some administrative matters that government had to deal with before the release of Social Cash Transfer funds, but those have been resolved. The Ministry of Community Development is being empowered to ensure that our people, who were receiving the Social Cash Transfer, start to receive it. Secondly, Mr Speaker, there are many social protection measures that this government has taken in order to bring the various sectors and various players into one unit. Smart Zambia is currently working with the Ministry of Community Development so that we establish a database for recipients of social protection funds, so that there is no double-dipping because we have seen beneficiaries will be receiving cash from Social Cash Transfer and from other entities. So, we want to synchronize this system so that everything is put in place, so that our people, who are eligible to receive social protection funds can do so without any hindrances and stoppages as we have seen from the past,” Vice-President Wina said.
She urged members of parliament to lead by example in sensitising their constituents on the dangers of COVID-19, which was still at large.
The Vice-President was responding to a question asked by Itezhi-Tezhi UPND member of parliament Herbert Shabula, who wanted to find out the measures the government had put in place to prove to Zambians that COVID- 19 was real.
“As leaders, we should lead by example and it is for the members in this House to inform their electorate that COVID-19 is real and people are dying! No wonder UPND is condemning DMMU (Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit) when we feed the mourners, particularly those that die in big numbers. So, the Honourable member is head of the Church, and he influences a lot of people and we urge him to inform his people that COVID-19 is here and we must be taking care of ourselves through the measures that we have been told,” she replied.
Vice-President Wina further stated that youth empowerment programmes were meant to cover all the youth in the country.
“The Presidential COVID-19 stimulus package that was announced recently is going to address issues of resuscitating issues of liquidity in our economy through the small-scale enterprises, and the youth empowerment programmes fall into this category. This is designed to cover the whole country so the youth of Kasempa (District) will benefit from these funds when a programme has been put in place. The distribution of the funds have just been secured and modalities of their implementation will be announced shortly,” Vice-President Wina announced.
Meanwhile, Vice-President Wina said the miscommunication in the donation of bicycles to the Ministry of Home Affairs was caused by conflicting statements by the Ministry’s public relations officers.
“Mr Speaker, indeed, there has been a lot of speculation on the bicycles that found their way in the hands of the police. Apparently, the conflicting reports were coming from the various public relations officers in the Ministry of Home Affairs, but truth of the matter is that the bicycles were a donation from the Indian government and some bicycles came through the Ministry of Home Affairs as part of an ordered assignment of equipments for the police, and these bicycles were then donated to the police by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The mention of the Japanese Embassy in the equation was ruled out and the government has made presentations to the government of Japan as well to the government of India to apologise for the misinformation that was circulated to the public. The two countries have accepted the apologies and the bilateral relations between our countries are still as cordial as ever,” said Vice-President Wina.