WE have been on this route before; the current Constitution we have had people opting not to participate but it’s here, acting justice minister Stephen Kampyongo said yesterday in Parliament.
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition and Monze Central UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu was cheered by his fellow lawmakers (UPND), as he re-stated the opposition party’s position that Bill No. 10 was “disposable.”
Kampyongo moved a motion to have the notorious Bill No. 10 of 2019 restored on the parliamentary Order Paper since it lapsed at the expiry of the third session of the 12th National Assembly.
The current session of Parliament is the fourth of the 12th National Assembly.
“We have been on this route before; the current Constitution we have had people opting not to participate but it’s here. So, our plea is that we don’t miss this opportunity. We appeal to the people’s representatives to come on board,” Kampyongo, the home affairs minister, said.
“This bill is not for the Patriotic Front – it’s for the people of Zambia. So, we all need cast out emotions….”
Kampyongo’s remarks were preceded by UPND members of parliament walking out of the House.
With the exception of Solwezi West and Nalikwanda members of parliament, Teddy Kasonso and Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa, respectively, UPND members of parliament walked out of the House, before the unanimous restoration of Bill No. 10 on the Order Paper.
Prof Lungwangwa and Kasonso were part of the committee that scrutinised the bill.
Kampyongo “sincerely” thanked PF members of parliament who supported his motion and further assured opposition lawmakers that: “we still remain open to collaborating with them.”
In moving the motion, Kampyongo sought the support of the House to restore onto the Order Paper the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 which was first presented to the House on Friday August 2, 2019.
He said according to parliamentary procedure and practice, all business that was not concluded before the end of the session lapsed and that it could not be continued within the ensuing session.
“However, as regards bills, the National Assembly of Zambia Standing orders of 2016 provide that if a bill lapses by reason of prorogation of the House, such a bill may be restored onto the Order Paper in the ensuing session at the stage it had reached at the time the House was prorogued,” Kampyongo told the House.
“Therefore, in order for the bill to be re-considered, it must first be restored onto the Order Paper. It is for this reason that I move this motion so that we take this process forward. This is a procedural, straightforward and non-controversial motion. I seek the support of all Honourable members of parliament.”
In his debate, Mwiimbu said: “I want to make it very clear that as the UPND, we have been consistently consistent over this matter pertaining to bill 10.”
“Our position has not changed in any way. We want to re-state our position over this same issue; our position is that this particular bill should not be brought back to this House to be considered,” Mwiimbu, a lawyer, said amid cheers from his fellow party members.
“This particular bill is disposable which should be thrown away. It is our considered view, as UPND, that this particular bill should remain in the shelves and not be brought here in the current form it is. This particular bill has lapsed and there is no bill that should be brought here. We are urging the government to do the needful.”
He stressed that UPND members of parliament would not support Bill No. 10.
“[But] because this (restoration of the bill on the Order Paper) is simple majority, we’ll leave this matter to be determined by our colleagues. Let them restore it and then at an appropriate time we’ll be involved in this particular process. For now we are not part and parcel of this particular process,” said Mwiimbu and then UPND lawmakers walked out of the House.
When first deputy Speaker Catherine Namugala put the question of whether or not to restore Bill No. 10 onto the Order Paper, the House unanimously agreed.
Bill No. 10 would come up for a second reading stage today in the afternoon.