I DIDN’T see any need to walk out of Parliament over a simple procedural matter of restoring Bill 10 on the Order Paper, says Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa.
Speaking on Hot FM’s breakfast show yesterday, the Nalikwanda UPND member of parliament said hardline positions on national development are not good.
He said Parliament should not be reduced to a circus, stressing that politicians must transcend politics of bitterness.
Prof Lungwangwa, who represents Zambia on the Pan-African Parliament, said Zambia should protect its peace and democracy.
He said some of the issues people think are highly contentious should be discussed around the table instead of tearing the country apart.
“It’s not good. We should learn from what is going on around us. This country has been an oasis of peace and we should maintain it that way,” Prof Lungwangwa said. “Mistrusts can be ironed out through dialogue, sitting around the table. Great nations are built through compromise, consensus through compromise. Hard line positions on national development are not good, this is what has torn African countries apart and what we have seen in Kenya is how it should be instead of hard lines positions. For the good of our country let’s find a way of talking, a way of dialoguing even on contentious issues like our laws.”
He said he was not bothered by rumours that he had been ‘bought’ by the ruling Patriotic Front because Zambia was a country full of rumours.
“I didn’t see any need for us to walk out over a simple procedural matter of restoring Bill 10 on the Order Paper. It was such a straightforward motion and definitely as an MP I didn’t see need for us to walk out,” Prof Lungwangwa said.
Asked about rumours that he has been swallowed by the PF, he said, “that has been going on since the NDF (National Dialogue Forum), it’s a rumour that has been going on and of course I am not bothered by that because our country is full of rumours.”
Prof Lungwangwa said he had been receiving threats on his life and his family through text messages following his seemingly alignment to the PF.
When challenged to show the text messages to the radio presenters, Prof Lungwangwa failed to do so, arguing that it was going to take a bit of time as they were so many.
He said he would make them available later.
Prof Lungwangwa added that he had also received a lot of telephone calls threatening him over his stance.
He said it was unfortunate that Zambians were more immersed in the cloud of emotions and that many had admitted that they did not understand what Bill 10 was all about.
He said many Zambians have been making comments on Constitution (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 from what they hear rather than what they know.
“Representatives of the people, members of parliament…it’s a two-way process. You the ordinary citizens are represented in the House. You should be free to meet your members of parliament anytime, after all constituencies have offices and constituencies has staff who are serving the members of parliament,” Prof Lungwangwa said. “So if somebody lives in Munali, they should be free to go to the constituency office and see the professional assistant of the MP and express themselves of what they see or what they would like to see in terms of what they want done. It’s a two-way process.”
He regretted that there was not much sensitisation by members of parliament.
On his part, Prof Lungwangwa said he finds time to go to his constituency to inform his people on what is going on.
He said there should also be demand by citizens for their MPs to address them from time to time.
“Let’s demand that the MPs come, address them, it’s part of the democratic governance system,” said Prof Lungwangwa.