SOME youths calling themselves Bill 10 Advocates say they have translated the contents of the document into the seven major languages to ensure that critics don’t mislead anyone.
And the Bill 10 Advocates have asked Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu to steer clear of politics.
Speaking during a press briefing in Lusaka, Tuesday, Prince Ndoyi, who spoke on behalf of the delegation, told journalists that the Bill’s contents had been translated in all seven major ethnic languages to make it easier for Zambians to understand.
“People have been told that Bill 10 has a clause that is proposing to extend the term of President Lungu from five to seven years, which is also a laughable joke because it’s clear that in Zambia our tenures are five years, and President Lungu is going to be facing another election in 2021. So, how do we extend the tenure amid another tenure? It does not make sense, legally…so we have translated the contents into the seven major languages so that everyone can read for themselves instead of believing lies,” Ndoyi said.
And Ndoyi asked Archbishop Mpundu to desist from politics and stop using the Catholic Church when stating his personal opinions.
“We have heard remarks from the former Lusaka Bishop, Telesphore Mpundu. He has made a number of commentaries; he has suggested that the Amendment Bill is a ‘third term’ Bill,’ that we should stop calling it ‘Bill 10,’ and he has also suggested that if the Bill goes through, ‘there’s going to be disaster, chaos.’ Our response is that he should be educated on the reason why we are calling it Bill 10. He should desist from representing our great Church, the Catholic Church, by taking his personal opinion, which is in line with an agenda of regime change,” Ndoyi said at Lusaka’s Zamcom Lodge.
“It is actually sad that he even openly announced through a paid-for Muvi TV programme that he is also a politician! We want to say this: we want to advise our grandfather, our good Bishop should not destroy his legacy, which he worked for over the years so diligently; he served with dignity. We think that his personal opinion must be divorced from being married with that of the Catholic Church; I think it’s a misrepresentation of the Church. If he’s giving a personal opinion, let him clearly state that, ‘this is my personal opinion.’ If he wants to be a politician, he should just join active politics so that they can face each other with the other politicians.”
Ndoyi said the advocates were, however, keen to engage Archbishop Mpundu to understand his bone of contention with the controversial proposed piece of legislation.
“We want to announce to the nation that we will be officially seeking an appointment with the said former Bishop, Telesphore Mpundu, through Kapingila House on the issue of Bill 10; we want to seek an audience with him…maybe he can educate us on what are the issues, really, which he has with the Bill because what we see is that the many things that the Bishop has been raising are away from the documents, which are here (points to brochures on table), away from the process, facts about the Bill,” Ndoyi said.
And he urged Sangwa, SC, to consult his local area member of parliament to register his concerns over Bill 10 rather than make assumptions about the Bill.
“…I think John Sangwa belongs to a constituency, he has a member of parliament; let him find his MP and discuss with his MP to find a way of taking his issues to Parliament. He is not a member of parliament, his member of parliament will go and represent him insofar as his assumptions are concerns,” he advised.
“We have elected MPs to do that job, and that’s their duty, let the MPs do that. In this country, if they are laws, which are contradictory to one another, we should not be afraid to amend them. Zambians must not be afraid to amend their Constitution if their Constitution contradicts their ethos, values, principles, and this is the time that we must amend the Constitution in view of where we are going so that we continue to have deeply-entrenched democracy; prevent those petitions that cause chaos so that we have a Public Order Act that is amended; the Electoral Process Act that is amended to make our elections much more free and fair. We amend the Constitution to include young people, who are in the majority, in government; to include the disabled, women in government.”
Meanwhile, Ndoyi, who was also flanked by several other Bill 10 advocates, who comprise civic and youth political activists, charged that any stakeholder who opposed Bill 10 was an enemy of the youth.
“The current population of youth is over five million in Zambia. It is disappointing for politicians to continue fighting a Bill, which represents the majority of this country. Anyone fighting the Bill is an enemy of the youth!” said Ndoyi.
The Bill 10 advocates have embarked on a vast tour around Eastern, Muchinga and North-Western provinces to sensitise Zambians on the contents of Bill 10, and to garner support for the Bill.