VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina says people should not be shocked when some members of parliament donate huge sums of money to their constituents because they have been running businesses way before joining politics.
And Vice-President Wina says the matter relating to President Edgar Lungu’s eligibility to contest in next year’s polls has been decided upon by the courts, adding that the case rests in that domain.
Meanwhile, the Vice-President says the process of ascertaining how much each minister who stayed in office after the dissolution of Parliament in 2016 is to pay back, is still being worked on.
She was speaking in Parliament on Friday morning during the Vice-President’s question time.
Chimwemwe independent member of parliament Elias Mwila questioned Vice-President Wina on the growing trend by some government officials who were making huge individual cash donations when government was barely making ends meet.
In response, the Vice-President said the members of parliament who were donating to their constituencies were in business.
“This Parliament is composed of many members who come from varied backgrounds. Some of them come from the business sector, some NGOs, some come from traditional systems. So those members of parliament you see donating sums of money or other resources to their constituencies, it means they are in business. They are running businesses, they were running businesses even before they became MPs and others are still running those businesses,” Vice-President Wina said.
“Even on the opposition side, we know of members of parliament who are in big businesses and they are running very huge housing schemes or they are farming. And I think that we should commend our people who can make it in business [and] at the same time deliver services to their people through the political office or through the seats they hold in Parliament. So we should not be surprised when we see these donations made, these MPs are in business and they are able to hive off some of the profits from their businesses to use in their constituencies.”
Vice-President Wina also said there were some positive developments in the voter registration exercise as the number of extra staff had been engaged.
She said citizens who were eligible would be captured, adding that she hoped and believed that the target that was set by ECZ would be achieved.
“There are some positive developments [in the voter registration exercise] in that the number of extra staff have been engaged and the number of kits have been increased from 1,000 to 3,000. So it means that these will be sent to various centers in the country, especially in highly populated areas to ensure that no Zambian is left behind. Those that are eligible will be captured and I hope and believe that the target that was set by ECZ will be achieved,” Vice-President Wina said.
And Chifubu PF member of parliament Frank Ng’ambi queried her over the debates on President Lungu’s eligibility to contest in the 2021 polls, and in response Vice-President Wina said “this matter has been debated extensively and the courts have decided so the case rests in that domain.”
Meanwhile, Vice-President Wina said the process of ascertaining how much each minister who stayed in office after the dissolution of Parliament in 2016 was to payback, was still being worked on.
“According to the ruling of the court, the ministers are supposed to pay but the process takes long because the amounts have to be determined on an individual basis. It’s not a wholesome figure that should be paid by the Ministers. Because they worked during that time and the process of ascertaining how much each minister is to pay is still being worked on,” she said.
She was responding to a question from Mufumbwe UPND member of parliament Elliot Kamondo who asked when the Ministers who stayed in office illegally after the dissolution of Parliament in 2016 would pay back the money to the people of Zambia.
Meanwhile, Chavuma UPND member of parliament Victor Lumayi also wanted to know whether government would consider creating a new district within Chavuma district.
But in response, Vice-President Wina said it may not be prudent for government to create new districts at this time when the economy could not take on extra responsibilities.
“It may not be prudent for government to create new districts at this time when our economy cannot take on extra responsibilities. Secondly, I am rather taken aback by the fact that it’s a member of parliament for Chavuma who is requesting for a new district because this policy was vehemently opposed by his party UPND when PF under the leadership of late President Micheal Sata then, introduced the idea of decentralising power from the centre to the districts so that our people in the rural areas in particular can access services. But this was not welcomed. But now we see that the creation of districts will bring development to our rural areas and it has been welcomed by the traditional rulers and the people in these areas where new districts have been created,” said Vice-President Wina.