JUSTICE Minister Given Lubinda says the failure of Bill 10 is a temporary setback as nothing will stop the President Edgar Lungu from pushing for the rights enshrined in the bill after the 2021 elections.

And Lubinda says with permission from President Lungu, he will soon present the political parties bill in parliament in accordance with Article 60 of the Constitution.

At a press briefing, Monday, Lubinda said a year from now, President Lungu and his government would start the process of constitution amendment.

“For the country, it is sad. However, it is a temporary setback. One year from now, President Edgar Lungu and his government will start again. So for one year, the Zambians will have to leave with difficult circumstances. As a political party and a political player, it’s a good failure because now I have something to go and tell the people. Now I will go to the people and say please look in their eyes, why did they stop this,” Lubinda said.

“We as the Patriotic Front, we are geared, we are ready and as a matter of fact I can say what I said in Parliament when I was closing debate on Bill 10 that nothing will stop President Lungu from pushing for these rights to be enshrined in the Constitution, I can assure you. Come September 2021, we will go back to these matters under the tutelage of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu.”

And Lubinda says that government will not stop anyone who wants to challenge President Lungu’s eligibility.

“Now, the next victory we are waiting for is the issue of eligibility of His Excellency the President. I see, so therein lies the challenge. Can anybody indicate where in Bill 10 we were trying to enshrine that the President continues without challenge? Where? There is nowhere in the bill where we provided that the president will continue unchallenged and as a matter of fact, wasn’t the matter of interpretation of the eligibility already subject of Constitutional Court review? The Constitutional Court closed that matter. But as Minister of Justice and as a member of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s Cabinet, I can say we will not stop anyone from flexing their imagination and so on and intuition, or even stopping them from going to court, they can use any court to challenge anyone including the President of the Republic of Zambia, we have no problem,” he said.

“The only thing that we are happy about is that Bill 10 has exposed them. It has exposed them to the extent that they are so worried about the candidature of one Edgar Chagwa Lungu. As far as we are concerned, as far as our legal brains are concerned, they can go anywhere and challenge President Edgar Lungu’s candidature. If they can make those threats, the one thing for sure is that come next year, we are going to file in nomination for President Edgar Chagwa Lungu to contest as President of the Republic of Zambia and we shall campaign and by the way we shall use Bill 10.”

He wondered why the opposition was now asking for an amendment of the Public Order Act when they were the ones who put it on hold.

“Some people have been asking me, what about Public Order Act, and these are members of the opposition asking me after the collapse of Bill 10, they have come to me asking me, my answer is please go and read Hansard. When minister Kampyongo presented the bill, the amendment bill to the public order act, what happened in parliament? Leader of the opposition, leader in UPND stood up and said Mr Speaker, we don’t want to present that bill until after we have finished with Bill 10, let us do the Constitutional amendment first that’s when we will do the public order act. You can’t have the cake and eat it that same time. So we shall wait for the amendment of the Constitution before we amend the Public Order Act. It follows,” he said.

He wondered why UPND was celebrating the fall of Bill 10 when they did not state what problems they had with the bill.

“So the question is, can they be bold enough to say what is it that they gained to cause then to celebrate. I saw one video, drinking Mosi, drinking Castle, drinking Four Cousins wine and dancing like they were really on top of the moon. What is it that they gained? I am still wondering, I am still baffled. Is it true that a person who says they want to represent the Zambian people can celebrate the defeat of a noble idea as having people with disabilities represented in Parliament…What is it that is in Bill 10 which created reason for celebration? They did not say a word in Parliament, not a single debate to say we don’t want this because of this law or that law, they didn’t say anything, they remained mute all to hear that they are celebrating,” he said.

And Lubinda said that he would present a political party’s bill in order to oblige those who thought they could escape intra-party democracy because of the fall of Bill 10

“The one thing I can assure you is I am going to request His Excellency the President to allow me to proceed with the political party’s bill because it’s provided for by Article 60 of the Constitution Amendment number two of 2016, it’s there. If I don’t do that, people can go to court and say it is prescribed. So my dear friends, that bill as soon as I get authority of His Excellency, I am presenting it to Parliament so that those parties that were thinking they have run away from having democracy because of Bill 10 shall now be obliged through political parties bill. And I am doing this because the party to which I belong is determined to continue to be a democratic party to have regular elections, to allow women to participate, to allow youths to participate in the leadership of the party and the leadership of the country, that we are determined to do,” Lubinda said.

Meanwhile, Lubinda has reconciled with Martin Mambwe, a PF member who was jailed two years for slapping him.

Mambwe was part of the 966 prisoners pardoned after intervention by the Minister who pleaded with the President on his behalf.

“I forgave you that very day because it was clear to me that you were used. I wept for you in court, when I shed tears in court it was not for me, the pain had already left me by that time. I shed tears because I was looking at this young man who because of carelessness was about to destroy his future. That was the reason why I wept and today I am very grateful to His Excellency the President, ebakufumishe muchifungo teine iyo (he is the one who had you released, not me). I just went and knelt down before the President and shed tears again for you and the President kindly listened to my cry. That’s how he released you. I just pray that Martin, ukwisa kuno (you coming here) is a sign that you yourself, filya nakulombele elyo naishile kuchifungo, nalikulomba ukutila ati me I have forgiven you, what remains is yourself, have you forgiven yourself,” said Lubinda.