Looking at the demeanor of Given Lubinda when Parliament was forced to adjourn sine die, after PF failed to raise the two-thirds majority for Bill 10 after moving the motion for second reading, you can bet the ruling party has premised its continued stay in power on the infamous amendments.
There’s no other reason they can advance looking at the way they have governed this country! For them, it has been scandal after scandal!
Edgar Lungu’s government is full of crooked, corrupt and greedy individuals who have done nothing to improve the lives of the people they were elected to serve. This is a government of the corrupt by the corrupt for the corrupt.
As Thomas Jefferson once said: “He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time till at length it becomes habitual”.
Given, following the Parliament debacle, has gone to town accusing those who have been campaigning against the Bill 10 of panicking. He, and his cohorts, have used all sorts of platforms to condemn the opposition MPs who exercised their right to walk out of parliament in protest against the ill-fated bill.
“No one must have any imagination that the consideration of Bill 10 has been removed from Parliament because it has not. I’m very excited to see the level of panic amongst those who have been campaigning against Bill 10. There is no doubt in my mind that there have been several attempts, there has been panic and that panic excites me. It excites me because it is clear that them too are not convinced with what they are doing,” says Given. “Now I want to appeal to all of them [Cabinet ministers], this is a God-sent. During this time, now from the adjournment of Parliament to the next sitting of Parliament, this is our time to go out to the people. Over the past three years we were quiet. And we were just informing the people through Parliament. Now it is our time also to engage the citizens and tell them about the good intentions of Bill 10. Let us go out there and tell the disabled people that Bill 10 intends to provide for them space, seats in Parliament. The women of Zambia for a long time have spoken that they are not adequately represented in the institutions of governance. If we don’t start with them being included in Parliament, we cannot possibly expect them to be included in councils. The youths, this is the right starting point. The youths, this is the time for you to be heard. We will use this period to make sure we will do what I say we will do, to campaign, for the good intentions of Bill 10.”
How callous! How mischievous!
As Chapter One Foundation executive director Linda Kasonde has observed, the provisions Given is fronting have been in place since the Constitution was amended in 2016 and yet the government has not implemented them.
Article 45 (1) of the current Constitution states as follows: “45. (1) The electoral systems provided for in Article 47 for the election of President, Member of Parliament or councillor shall ensure— (a) that citizens are free to exercise their political rights; (b) universal adult suffrage based on the equality of a vote; (c) fair representation of the various interest groups in society; and (d) gender equity in the National Assembly or council.”
What Given is not telling the nation is that Edgar and his cronies’ survival depends on Bill 10. There’s nothing else in it that is good for this country. If it were for the general good of this nation, PF would never invest their energies and resources on these constitutional amendments. Edgar and his minions have never applied national assets for the greater good of the citizenry.
But we want to tell Edgar and Given that the people are the masters and, collectively, we own this country.
The Republican Constitution is not for you to bulldoze – you have no authority to do that.
Sober up and serve the nation and not intimidate citizens into silence over a matter you should have built consensus over.
Do not extend the PF’s mediocrity and wanton impunity. You can tamper with your party constitution but not the Republican Constitution.
Edgar must reflect and withdraw this bill instead of extending a crisis before time runs out.
As Dr Sishuwa Sishuwa has noted: “Time is running out…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?”