LEADER of the Opposition Jack Mwiimbu has insisted that Bill 10 died on June 4 adding that PF wants to use it as their ventilator which can prolong President Edgar Lungu’s tenure of office.
But deputy chief whip Tutwa Ngulube says with or without Bill 10, the PF can continue in power after 2021.
Debating Vice-President Inonge Wina’s motion to restore Bill 10 and seven other bills on the Order Paper, Friday, Mwiimbu insisted that the Bill died and could not be reinstated.
“As far as we are concerned as UPND, Mr Speaker, this Bill died on 4th June. There was an attempt by the Minister of Justice [Given Lubinda] when he wrote a letter to request parliament to allow him to debate the Bill on 30th June. Mr Speaker, you cannot extend a Bill that has already lapsed. It had died on 4th June. After the death of this particular Bill on 4th June, two weeks later, it was cremated. The ashes were thrown in the Zambezi River [and] they are now in the Indian Ocean. We cannot ourselves as UPND be part of the process which we don’t agree with. We cannot be part of a process that is fraud. There is one thing which we know Mr Speaker. Why is the PF so desperate pertaining to Bill 10? Bill 10, Mr Speaker, is a ventilator for the PF. That is why they are insisting that this Bill be resurrected even when the ashes are in the Indian Ocean, it is because of what the Constitutional Court ruled on the eligibility of the current President. And that is why they are insisting that Bill 10 be brought because they want to make amendments to Article 52. That is the reason Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, we will not be part and parcel of a fraud process. If you want to pass it, you will pass it on your own. And as a result Mr Speaker, I would like to indicate that I am not going to assist the PF to look for Oxygen so that they can put in a ventilator and start breathing again. There is no way. Let them do it alone,” Mwiimbu said before seeking permission to leave the House saying that he did not agree with the process.
As he was leaving the Chamber, Justice Minister Given Lubinda and Ngulube tried to convince him to stay and listen to their responses saying: “Sit, we have to answer you. You can’t run away.”
And when debating the same Motion, Ngulube said Mwiimbu was misleading the nation by alleging that the Bill sought to extend President Lungu’s stay in office.
“Mr Speaker, we want to tell the Zambian people the truth about the powers that this House has. It is not correct to state as Honourable Mwiimbu has stated that Bill 10 died or any other Bill that wasn’t concluded. I want to refer my brother to the provisions of Article 77 of the Constitution which actually states and I will quote: ‘subject to this Article and Article 78, the National Assembly shall regulate its own procedure and make Standing Orders for the conduct of its business. It is not correct to state Mr Speaker that this House cannot control its own internal proceedings. Honourable Mwiimbu on behalf of the UPND is misleading the Zambians. And I think they have been behind all these social media frenzy including the insensitive comments they have been making,” Ngulube said.
“As far as we are concerned Mr Speaker, there is a list of Bills that have been restored. But he has only chosen one Bill, Bill 10 and he wants to mislead the nation that the Bill died and it cannot be resurrected. As far as we are concerned, the procedure in this House is that if we are not able to conclude business, a motion of this nature can be brought and the members of parliament will vote. As far as we are concerned, Mr Speaker, there is nothing about Article 52 that they have actually stated. The provisions of Article 52 that he has mentioned have not been proposed by the Patriotic Front government, they are being proposed by ECZ itself. The Electoral Commission of Zambia wants all the provisions in the Constitution that have to do with elections to be put in one place. We cannot have an election being conducted where you have to look at the Constitution, you have to look at the Electoral Process Act, you have to look at the 1991 Constitution. And the ECZ made it very clear at the National Dialogue Forum that they would like Article 52 to be amended.”
Ngulube who is also Kabwe Central PF member of parliament said with or without Bill 10, the PF can continue in power after 2021.
“We also know, Mr Speaker, that the UPND have been misleading the Zambians to say that President Lungu wants to overstay in power. There is nothing in Bill 10 that talks about that. There is nothing in Bill 10 that even says that PF is on a ventilator. With or without Bill 10, PF can continue in power after 2021. And in fact Mr Speaker let me put this on record that the people who are calling for the enactment of Bill 10 are all those Zambians who were negatively affected by the amendments of the 2016 Constitution. President Lungu was categorical when he accented to the Constitution on 5th January 2015. After the Constitution came into effect, we discovered that the Constitution had a lot of problems and a lot of errors. And to correct those problems, the people of Zambia called for a meeting which was attended throughout by the UPND,” Ngulube said.
Ngulube said if the UPND succeeded in shooting down the Bill, they should not cry foul in 2021 after losing elections.
“They (UPND) want to start telling Zambians that they will not be part of this process because they know that even without the UPND, the PF can pass Bill 10. And the PF will make sure that if they are going to shoot down the Bill, no one should wake up again tomorrow to cry that the Constitution has problems. So, if the Constitution is not amended and Hakainde loses again in 2021, he should not go to the Constitutional Court because we know that he is the one who has been running to the ConCourt whenever he loses elections,” said Ngulube.