MONZE Central UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu says Cabinet members do not respect the Vice-President as they have not executed her pronouncements regarding the mobile issuance of National Registration Cards.
But Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo has refuted the claim, adding that opposition members of parliament should not even pretend to respect her because they don’t.
Mwiimbu was debating after Vice-President Inonge Wina moved a motion to suspend standing order 100 to enable the House consider more than one stage of a Bill in one sitting, Tuesday.
“You, your honour the Vice-President, you have been on record on the floor of this House that PF is now the dominant party in Western Province. Why are you disfranchising your members in Western Province where you are saying now you are the controlling party, why? The members of UPND who hail from Western Province had a meeting with you, Your Honour and you made an assurance to them that something was going to be done pertaining to the issuance of NRCs. Would I be wrong, through you Mr Speaker, to insinuate that members of your Cabinet have no respect for you because you have made commitments on the floor of this House but nothing has been done?” Mwiimbu said.
“Mr Speaker, Her Honour the Vice-President on the floor of this House has been making assurances that the mobile issuance of registration cards will go back to those areas that were not covered, before the end of the registration period. Mr Speaker, we are remaining with approximately four days before the end of the registration period. As far as we are concerned, no movement whatsoever is taking place in Western, Southern, parts of Lusaka and in particular those provinces that were in the second phase. On the other hand Mr Speaker, we are aware that even as today, mobile issuance of National Registration Cards are taking place in Luapula, they are taking place in Northern, they are taking place in Eastern, they are taking place in Muchinga. Why should the leadership of this country discriminate against particular members of the public who hail from certain areas, why should we do that?”
He bemoaned the continued trend of suspending standing orders towards the adjournment of the House saying it deprived the electorate the right to be consulted on Bills presented in the House.
“Mr Speaker, I would like to state in no uncertain terms that this particular practice is a very bad practice. We all knew that money bills will be presented before the floor of this House for consideration. We knew this idea a long time ago, it’s unfair and it’s not in the interest of any member of parliament and members of the public to introduce bills at the last minute so that there is no consultation over these bills. We have always been advised by the government that when Bills are presented on the floor of the House, it’s incumbent upon members of parliament to consult their electorate but how are we going to do it if we are suspending the standing orders, all the stages of these Bills are going to be debated within that particular sitting or day. It’s unfair and it’s not in the interest of anybody. I hope that in future, this bad practice by the PF will not continue to be applied on the floor of this house,” said Mwiimbu.
But in response to Nkeyema UPND member of parliament Kapelwa Mbangweta who wanted to find out why registration offices in some areas were being closed despite the Minister saying they would remain, Kampyongo said Cabinet was in full support and respected Vice-President Wina.
“Mr Speaker, let me use that question posed by the honourable member for Nkeyema to clear the impression that was created earlier on and to assure this August House Sir through you that we, in Cabinet of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu are very much in support of her honour the Vice President who is our second highest public officer and we got her to be the Vice-President without the support of our colleagues on your right and they shouldn’t pretend today that they have got respect for her. So you shouldn’t be any illusion to think that we don’t respect her honour the Vice-President, we are solidly behind her. Just as we made sure she became the first female Vice-President of this country,” said Kampyongo.
“Mr Speaker, the Honorable MP for Nkeyema alluded to my statement which I issued last week regarding the mobile issuance of NRCs and I am surprised in his question, he was making reference to PF cadre turned civil servant. And I want to just lecture him about a cadre. A cadre can be anybody including this minister standing here, that’s a cadre, so to insinuate that the PS could be a cadre in the civil service but if you said a political cadre I would have been concerned. Further I want to say that the statement that we have closed offices in Kaoma, and anyone has got instruction apart from this minister standing here Sir, to close any particular office is false. I thank you Sir.”
He also said that the conferring of citizenship was not restricted to the electoral process as it was done every week.
He said the mobile exercise was only an intervention for far flung areas which might be having challenges to access the district offices and further urged members of parliament to stop creating the impression that NRCs were only issued during the voter registration exercise.