TRANSPORT and Communications Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya says there is no obligation to follow the public submissions regarding the cyber security bill but there is an obligation to follow the recommendations made by the parliamentary sub committee.

And Clerk of the National Assembly says parliament could not be closed as scheduled last week Friday because of the bill.

In an interview, Kafwaya said the submissions made by LAZ were like any other submissions made by a witness.

When asked why submissions made by stakeholders like the Law Association of Zambia that the bill be withdrawn was not considered, Kafwaya said the Parliamentary Committee did not recommend that.

“The submissions were taken into account by the Parliamentary Committee, all the submissions were in the Parliamentary Committee which came to the House and we took into account all the submissions of the Committee. LAZ said that? But the Committee did not recommend for that. LAZ is a witness, it is like any other witness who will be called to submit before the Committee. We have no obligation to follow the submission, we have an obligation to follow the recommendations of the committee. Because even you, you can go to parliament and make a submission, that submission even if I don’t look at it, I look at the Committee where you have submitted, what the Committee is saying is what we must take into account and we did take into account those submissions by the Committee,” Kafwaya explained.

“The final recommendation was that defer the bill to allow the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Justice to take into account the views of the stakeholders. Now, we said the views of stakeholders are represented in the Committee report and we have enough time to take them into account and we took them into account. Those are the amendments you saw which I was passing, those emanated from the stakeholders from the Committee report. The work I did was for the Zambian people. I am messenger by the Zambian, I must be actively participating in making the environment better and providing security for you and the Zambian people. I am pretty happy but you should be happier.”

When asked why all amendments that were proposed by the private member were rejected, Kafwaya said if the clauses were deleted, they would have affected other clauses.

“An amendment was an addition or change of something, all those were deletions. Honourable (Douglas) Syakalima was proposing to delete clauses. Now you see the way the law is made, those clauses speak to each other so when you delete one, it may have an impact on the other. There was not a single one where he had suggested to change the text or replace a word by another, he was just saying ‘delete’ so there was no way we could delete the clauses,” said Kafwaya.

And Mbewe said Parliament could not adjourn sine die because there were amendments to the bill almost at every clause.

“We couldn’t as planned on the 5th because [of] the Cyber crime bill. Both the minister, the executive and also the backbencher specifically the honuorable member for Chirundu brought amendments almost at every clause and almost at every point there was a division so we delayed, we could not conclude on time. We only managed to pass it, it was enacted yesterday. So I am confident that today the House will adjourn sine die because all the bills which we have on the order papers are at third reading, which is almost a done deal. So because of the cyber crime bill, there were a lot of amendments, a lot of divisions so we could not conclude as planned,” said Mbewe.