EASTERN Province minister Makebi Zulu says there has been a lot of misinformation surrounding bill 10 anchored on the desire to gain mileage from an innocent process.
And Zulu says government would work on the Chipata – Msoro road through the Ministry of Local Government.
Addressing journalists at his office recently, Zulu, who is also Malambo member of parliament, said those that have expressed displeasure on bill 10 have not provided an alternative.
“You have asked about bill 10, that’s a very big topic I would want us to have sufficient time to talk about. There has been a lot of misinformation and this misinformation has arisen out of a desire to gain mileage out of a very innocent process. The process that has been consultative, a process that has been engaging and those that have expressed displeasure have not provide the alternatives to what they think should be there. There have been lies to say, perhaps the intention of government has been to take away…I will give you a typical example where they are saying ‘no, the PF wants to be printing money, they are taking away that function from the Bank of Zambia’ it’s not like that. The Bank of Zambia itself came and made submissions to say ‘listen we want the constitution to contain the core functions of the Bank’ then we have our legislation which already mandates us to carry out these issues, so we are not taking away any power as it were, but we want the constitution to only maintain the principles that should guide us,” he said.
Zulu also dismissed claims that the PF wanted to increase the term of office for elected leaders to seven years from the current five.
“All those are less than truthful, there is no intention to get to a seven-year term and perhaps the misunderstanding has been that those that have been speaking the loudest do not understand the legislative process. How does the bill come into law? And they have taken advantage of the ignorance of the people by saying when it (constitution) is opened up with two thirds then they will put in anything they want, thereafter will be a constitution that we do not desire. The very people who were saying ‘this constitution is useless are the very people who are saying this constitution is okay, let it be as it is’ so we have a lot of people that are mismanaging the truth and are telling people lies,” he said.
Zulu said he was looking forward to seeing a proposed amendment to bill 10 but that he had not seen any.
“If at all those that are opposing bill 10 were noble in their cry, that we should not continue with it, they would have proposed alternatives. I was looking forward to seeing a proposed amendment to bill 10 as to what they want reflected, but all they are saying is that ‘we don’t want it’ perhaps what will end as true are the speculations or indeed the sayings in the corridors that perhaps the only thing they don’t want is the declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation being operationalised in the effective clauses of the constitution. We have no intention of departing from the Christian nation clause. We have no intention of supporting minority rights such as gay rights,” he said.
Zulu said the PF government means well for the people of Zambia.
“If indeed bill 10 was unpopular as they (those opposing it) suggest that it is, of course, we would have been the first ones to run away from it because we wouldn’t want to legislate ourselves out of power by putting in place laws that are displeasing to our people, laws that are not in the best interest of the country, that is not our intention. Our intention is to see to it that there is proper representation of women in Parliament by implementing a mixed member representation. We want to see that youths get into Parliament; we want to see the differently abled persons get into Parliament and be properly represented. We want to see to it that institutions of governance are strengthened for purposes of accountability and that is what is intended to be achieved in bill 10 and we’ll see to it that, that is achieved,” he said.
On the Chipata-Msoro and Katete-Msoro road, Zulu said the roads would be worked on adding that the Ministry of Local Government was working on the Chipata-Msoro road to ensure connectivity among the districts that were along the road.
“Katete-Msoro road is also under procurement. As you may be aware, we are working on the Petauke-Chilongozi road as well as Sandwe-Msoro-Mambwe road and within this there is where we intend to see to it that we are able to work on these roads and complete them. You know these are some of the niggling issues in Eastern Province which government has been committed to addressing but for certain issues that have arisen in between, we have not been able to implement them at the rate that most people would have loved us do because of intervening [varriables] but we still remain committed to see to it that we improve access or connectivity between the trading centres and the production centres. We know that Chipata-Msoro road leads to production centres and Katete-Msoro road leads to production centres and we need to give them access to trading centres,” said Zulu.