Zambia is a tinderbox – Sishuwa

ACADEMICIAN Sishuwa Sishuwa says Zambia is a tinderbox, a bad drama too sad and painful to watch.

He argues that Parliament did not been adjourned, last Wednesday, due to coronavirus outbreak or Dipak Patel’s court case.

Dr Sishuwa said the adjournment sine die were only pretexts for Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini’s action.

“The real reason is that the PF were a single MP short of a two-thirds majority to pass Bill 10. When an MP is found Zambia’s Parliament will reopen,” he said.

Dr Sishuwa said for PF, Constitution (Amendment) Bill No.10 of 2019 effectively guarantees the party’s re-election, whether they field President Edgar Lungu or another candidate.

“For Zambia, Bill 10 seeks to undermine the institutions that offer long-term hope for democratic consolidation: elections, the Constitution, Parliament and the Judiciary,” he said. “Like that of President Lungu, the PF’s sense of self-belief knows no bounds, but their record in office does not justify that opinion. Soon, Zambia will be visited by “elections” without any resolution of the most salient issues that can lead to conflict. Time is running out….”

Dr Sishuwa argued that, “Zambia is a tinderbox, a bad drama too sad and too painful to watch.”
“The fundamental question is: are we going to waste this crisis and let Lungu and his ilk emerge triumphant, having manufactured this deadly crisis in the first place?” asked Dr Sishuwa.

On Wednesday, after five hours of studying Mazabuka Central UPND member of parliament Gary Nkombo’s point of order on Bill 10, Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini invoked statutory instruments banning public gatherings in view of the coronavirus outbreak to move the House to adjourn sine die.

Nkombo rose on a point of order on continued deliberations on Bill 10 in view of former commerce minister Dipak Patel challenging the legality of government procuring public debt in contravention of the Constitution.

He argued that the constitutional provision before the court was the very provision that Bill 10 was trying to reverse.

Nkombo said continuing to discuss Bill 10 in view of the matter in the ConCourt was sub judice.

In response, Speaker Matibini suspended proceedings to enable him study the court documents.

But after standing down proceedings for about five hours, Speaker Matibini at 18:30 hours said he required more time to ponder on Nkombo’s point of order.

He then moved to points of order on the House sitting in view of the government directives on public gatherings raised by Monze Central UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu and Nkombo on Tuesday, and Muchinga Province minister Malozo Sichone yesterday.

He said following consultation with relevant public offices, a decision had been reached in order to deal with the concerns raised in the points of order by Honourable J. J. Mwiimbu and the Honourable Minister of Muchinga Province promptly.

He then called on Vice-President Inonge Wina to move the motion to adjourn the House.

However, sources at parliament said the move was to save PF’s face from embarrassment after failing to marshal the numbers to pass bill 10.

The source wondered why a ruling on coronavirus was not made on Tuesday before Bill 10 was even presented for second reading.

Meanwhile, Choma Central UPND member of parliament Cornelius Mweetwa has revealed that the PF offered K6 million to a UPND MP for a vote passing Bill 10.

“They know themselves. They know who was tasked to deal with the two UPND MPs on the Copperbelt, they know the ministers who were given the task to deal with Central Province, and how angry they were when they did not succeed, the ministers who were given the task to deal with Western Province, Southern Province. We know all who were tasked to deal with who,” said Mweetwa. “Can they deny it? Whatever has been happening is known. We are also aware that one of the members of parliament who remained in that House actually was given K750,000. That person was promised K2 million and they gave him K750,000 advance and that person is now demanding the balance. Can they deny? You see, when it was D-day, can they deny that they offered a K6 million to a UPND member of parliament but he rejected the K6 million. Can they deny? And if they start denying, we will start naming them one by one. Can they deny that on the last day they offered K6 million that ‘for casting the winning vote, here is K6 million’. They should not play games.”

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