VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina says the failure to pass Bill 10 will have devastating effects on several governance issues.
Meanwhile, Vice-President Wina says Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Dora Siliya did not coach village headmen in Sinda District on how to lie in order to access funding under the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) scheme.
Speaking during the Vice President’s Question Time in Parliament, Friday, Vice-President Wina said failure to pass Constitution Amendment Bill Number 10 of 2019 would lead to devastating effects on various governance issues.
Asked by Nakonde PF member of parliament Yizukanji Siwanzi on what would be the way forward following the failure of Bill 10, Vice-President Wina said the Bill’s untimely demise would have devastating effects on several governance matters, such as the delimitation exercise that was aimed at making constituencies smaller for effective public service delivery.
“The non-passing of Bill 10 will have a devastating effect on many issues, not only on delimitation. And I just wonder as to who the people who are celebrating today, whether they will have legitimate answers to face the Christians, and churches that wanted to see the Christian nation clause actualised in the Constitution. Whether they will be able to face the chiefs and ensure that the chiefs understand why this was shot down to their disadvantage; and whether they will be able to face the youths, the women, the people with disabilities. Mr Speaker, for the last 50 years, the women of this country have struggled to have their voice heard in decision-making organs. And this was quelled by the opposition that felt that women should not come to the table where decisions are made,” Vice President Wina said.
“So, what message should we take to the women to tell them that the opposition political parties do not want to see the advancement of women because Bill 10 was going to introduce affirmative action where the number of women in Parliament and in councils; the number of youths in Parliament and in councils; the number of people with disabilities in Parliament and in councils would have increased. But now, this will not happen. This was the only chance that the advancement of women in decision-making positions would have been realised because we have followed the status call, the post election models and this has not worked. And now, we kill a piece of legislation that was coming to empower these marginalised people in our society. I don’t know what the proponents of the anti-Bill 10 will say to the retirees, the Bank of Zambia that wanted certain changes in governing the management of the bank, what they will say to the many Zambians who wanted to ensure that the lacunas in the Constitution, the many unprogressive clauses are taken out.”
But Vice-President Wina said the failure of Bill 10 would give relief to the National Assembly as it did not have to create more spaces for new MPs.
“Now, members of parliament who are representing vast constituencies, especially in rural areas, from now onwards, they should not complain because they are the ones who shot down Bill 10. So, for those members to abrogate their responsibilities to the people who voted them into office and ignore the wishes of the Zambian people, they will have themselves to blame. This side of the House, Mr Speaker, has done its part and the Zambian people will be the ones to judge. So, on the delimitation of constituencies, we will carry on. Perhaps it will give relief to Parliament so that we don’t create more space for new members of parliament. But in a real sense, this is to deprive people of required services. So, Mr Speaker, I feel sad not for this side (ruling party) but for that side (opposition) that oppose the election,” she said.
Meanwhile, Katombola UPND member of parliament Derrick Livune asked Vice-President Wina; “The Honorable Minister of Information and Broadcasting [Services] whilst addressing people in her constituency was encouraging people to go to the office of the district commissioner where they should be taught how to answer questions that are asked as regards to the qualification to get money from the Social Cash Transfer (SCT). Mr Speaker, the Social Cash Transfer is meant for the vulnerable [and] the poor people. Now, the Minister of Information (Dora Siliya) was telling the old village headmen to go to the DC’s office and learn how to defraud the State because some of those village headman do not qualify to receive money. What is your advice to the Minister of Information?”
In her response, however, Vice-President Wina said Siliya’s remarks could have been taken out of context.
“Mr Speaker, for all I know, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting in her constituency was addressing village headmen. Village headmen are the leaders that know the most vulnerable people in their villages. And they are the same leaders that will collaborate with the community development officers, with the district commissioner’s office so that a verification process is undertaken before anyone can be put on the Social Cash Transfer. The Minister could not persuade people to divulge wrong information so that they can access Social Cash Transfer. That is not allowed. And so, the Minister did not say what the honorable member is saying. So, to exaggerate this case to say that the Minister coached people to answer certain questions when they want to access community development funds is not true,” said Vice-President Wina.
“The beneficiaries of community development Social Cash Transfer programme are verified even by the school authorities, the health authorities, the district commissioner’s office, and many other stakeholders, who form the committee to select the vulnerable people in society, even those that have been recommended by the village headmen. Mr Speaker, we should not take issues out of context. We know the procedures followed when accessing Social Cash Transfer.”