THE Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) has cautioned youths calling themselves Bill 10 Advocates to stop harassing Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu or any other citizen opposed to the Bill.
And CiSCA says Article 20 of the Bill of Rights gives every Zambian the right to full enjoyment of the fundamental right to freedom of expression without any hindrance or interference.
According to a statement issued, Friday, CiSCA vice-chairperson Judith Mulenga stated that during the launch of their translated Bill 10 into seven local languages, the Bill 10 youth advocates singled out Archbishop Mpundu as a target of their diatribe.
She added that this was clear hindrance and interference of Archbishop Mpundu’s exercise of his right to his opinions and expression and a gross violation of the Constitution.
“During the launch of their translated Bill 10 into seven local languages, the Bill 10 Youth Advocates singled out Archbishop Mpundu as a target of their diatribe. This is clear hindrance and interference of Archbishop Mpundu’s exercise of his right to his opinions and expression and a gross violation of the Constitution which guarantees the Archbishop justiciable civil and political rights, including the right to his opinions without interference,” Mulenga stated.
She added that Article 20 of the Bill of Rights gave every Zambian the right to full enjoyment of the fundamental right to freedom of expression.
“Article 20 of our Bill of Rights bestows on Archbishop Mpundu, and every Zambian citizen, the right to full enjoyment of the fundamental right to freedom of expression without any hindrance or interference from anyone, be they pro or anti Bill 10 individuals or groups. CiSCA further reminds the clearly ignorant Bill 10 Youth Advocates that the Bill of Rights under which fundamental rights sit has not been tampered with by the manipulative PF government and these rights are as intact as they were in 1996. How then do they justify pushing for the so-called improvement of the Constitution while violating its core content?” Mulenga wondered.
“In speaking out against Bill 10, Archbishop Mpundu did not in any way prejudice the Bill 10 Advocates’ freedom of expression and neither did State Counsel John Sangwa. Therefore, in their pathetic clueless efforts to limit the freedom of expression of Archbishop Mpundu and those opposed to their views, they are in direct violation of the Bill of Rights and our Constitution. How then can such ‘advocates’ lay any claim to furthering the tenets of democracy as per their leader, Prince Ndoyi’s assertion? The usual hypocrisy of pro Bill 10 voices was embarrassingly manifest in Ndoyi’s assertions. In one breath, he advises Sangwa to seek an audience with his area MP because Bill 10 is now under the MPs’ purview but in the same breath, he himself is speaking on Bill 10 when he nor any of his cohorts are MPs! What lack of depth is that?”
She stated that the Bill 10 Advocates should respect other citizens’ rights to express themselves against Bill 10.
“Why can’t the Bill 10 Advocates let the translated Bill 10 speak for them? In the same way they are expressing themselves through their translated copies and other platforms, the Bill 10 Advocates must respect other citizens’ right to express themselves against Bill 10. It is ignorance of the highest order to equate Bill 10 to a youth empowerment document. We challenge Ndoyi to unequivocally point to youth empowerment provisions in Bill 10. We know there are none! We advise Ndoyi and his cohort to just enjoy the change from the translation and printing costs. The real focused youths in Zambia require real empowerment. They require support to develop the necessary knowledge and skills for today’s labour market. They require job opportunities and they require that they be part of the decision making in public structures and processes,” Mulenga stated.
But in a statement issued, Sunday, Bill 10 Advocate Leader Chishala Chilufya stated that Bill 10 advocates were concerned with Mulenga’s position.
He challenged Mulenga and others who were opposing the Bill to also produce translated documents that contained the purported bad clauses and explain them to Zambians.
“As advocates of the Bill, we want to educate Madam Mulenga, together with Archbishop Telesphore Mpunda, on the role of the Church when it comes to national maters. The role of the Church is not to take a political stance or emotional position as it is against Jesus Christ’s doctrine but to play an advisory role at all levels as the church is the highest level of reasoning, hence making us wonder when a Clergy takes a political position,” stated Chilufya.