PARLIAMENT yesterday failed to vote whether or not the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Bill should be read for the second time due to challenges with the information and technology system.

The members of parliament tried to vote orally but failed because there was an indication of division which fostered the use of the IT system to determine whether the bill should be read for the second time.

Earlier, three MPs, namely Liuwa UPND MP Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, Zambezi East UPND MP Brian Kambita and Namwala UPND MP Moono Lubezhi all rose on points of order, complaining that they were facing challenges with logging into the e-Chamber system.

Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini was later forced to interrupt business for the day in order to resolve the challenges.

“We are deploying our IT staff to this situation, exercise patience…The time is 16:55 hours I interrupt proceedings and business stands adjourned and at the point of adjournment, for the record, the system is indicating connection is unstable and therefore at this juncture, we cannot proceed with the vote. Business to resume tomorrow, the House is now adjourned,” said Dr Matibini.

During debates earlier, Transport and Communications Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya said 20 amendments were already proposed to the bill.

“Mr Speaker, 17 members of Parliament have debated this bill, that shows the interest it has stimulated, an important bill indeed. Important because security is important for every citizen. This is why His Excellency President Edgar Lungu wants all Zambians to be secured. Mr Speaker, your committee recommended for deferment so that the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Transport can move amendments in line with stakeholders views. Sir, we have been able to propose 20 amendments already. We have considered the views of the stakeholders. Mr Speaker, I thank you,” said Kafwaya.

And Kasenengwa PF MP Sensio Banda said there was need to enact the bill in order to stop criminals who were already committing cyber crimes.

“This bill must have been moved like yesterday because criminals are already committing these crimes in all highlighted business environments. Mr Speaker, it is surprising that members on the left want the physical security wings to remain in the space whilst criminals are already committing crimes in the cyber space. Our friends on the left were saying that in fact, this bill is meant for the government to check what is going on, but to the contrary, this is meant to trace criminals. Mr Speaker, a special report by Steve Morgan in the latest version of Cybercrime Magazine predicts about US$6 trillion in terms of damage would have been done by 2021,” said Banda.

“It is predicted that annually, cyber crime would have grown by 15 percent meaning that by 2025, we would have a damage of $10.6 trillion which is quite gross. This is only in the economic environment. What about the damage in the political environment, legal environment, social and cultural environment? The damage is enormous! With this, Mr Speaker, this bill must be supported by all well-meaning Zambians. I am wondering why people are scared to have this bill enacted. With that said, Mr Speaker, all those opposed to the bill, I am surprised…With this, I support the bill.”