Withdraw Bill 10

[By Lang’a Mweene]

The debate on Bill 10 continues. We cannot afford to get tired of speaking out. Not until that Bill is withdrawn and redrafted. Go back to the drawing board.

Isn’t it interesting how the same people who are now calling on the public to go and make submissions before Parliament are also the same ones who defiantly assert that no one is going to derail Bill 10, and that the NDF was widely consultative and represented the majority of Zambians?

Question; which majority of Zambians want to bring back deputy ministers? See, the main argument for bringing back deputy ministers is a non-starter. How can someone confidently submit that we need deputies because ministers get busy with parliamentary duties? You see, if truly Bill 10 was borne out of wide consultation as they claim, they would know that actually the majority of Zambians are in favour of appointing cabinet outside Parliament.

And to be fair, what exactly is the job of a minister? Isn’t it to be the chief adviser to the president on matters relating to their portfolio? Meaning you need the best brains in that field. How many ministers serving currently can be said to have domain expertise in the ministries they head? Bringing back deputy ministers will not help the situation. Quality over quantity. Politics is a service or at least that is how it was meant to be.

Which makes me wonder: why does Bill 10 want to amend Article 186 to stop motivated Zambians who wish to serve their country? Which majority of Zambians said it is wrong to simply ask that a public officer who seeks election, or is appointed, to a State office shall resign? Instead add that they must resign at least two years before the date of election? Which majority of Zambians want their leaders to be jobless for at least two years so that they can come into politics hungry?

Come on! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a hungry politician to have integrity. Let us stop the lies, the majority of Zambians want the best brains to be their representatives. If those brains come from public service, we only ask that they resign at the time they decide to stand. Not two years before.

This suggestion would only perpetuate incompetence because with government still the largest employer what we would be saying is that politics must only be for the unemployed and maybe a few from the private sector.

Now I don’t understand why we must go before Parliament only to ask them to remove clauses no one asked them to include in the first place.

Surely, do we need to come before Parliament for it to register that:

No, we do not want deputy ministers

No, we do not want to limit people’s freedom of religion by derecognising their faiths

No, we do not want cabinet to contract loans without passing through Parliament

No, we do not want to leave pensioners in limbo by denying them income while they indefinitely wait for their benefits

No, we don’t want to compel public workers to resign 2 years before an election to earn a chance to serve their country

We want stronger institutions not a weakened judiciary. With so many unwanted clauses in the amendment bill, I say the right thing to do is withdraw the bill. This is not about politics but about doing what Zambians elected you to do. Serve in the best interest of the people. The country will thank you for it.

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