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Our democracy is under siege from agents of crookedness – GEARS

WE shall stand to protect, defend and promote democracy and its values from being manipulated in our institutions of governance, says MacDonald Chipenzi.

The Governance Elections, Advocacy, Research Services Initiative Zambia executive director said he found it extremely disgusting the manipulative manner in which the “devil behind Bill 10” wants to unleash his/her diabolical schemes to gag members of the former Select Committee on the review of the Constitution led by Raphael Nakacinda to vote for the “obnoxious bill”.

He said the desperate efforts to frustrate freedom of choice and expression among the former members of the committee can be visibly seen in manoeuvres to generate the purported standing orders to threaten the MPs.

“It is a known fact that once the Ad hoc Committee has presented its report to the House, the members of that Committee ceases to be members and their collective decision at the Committee level can be independently debated when the report is before the full House. This is the status of Raphael Nakacinda select committee. It was an adhoc one,” he said.

Chipenzi said the standing orders being crafted for the sake of passing Bill 10 were draconian in nature and against the spirit and letter of the Constitution vis-a-vis freedom of expression and opinion.

“We know those behind such evil schemes want to instill fear in some gullible MPs who were part of the Raphael Nakacinda-led ad hoc select commttee so that they vote with the pro-Bill 10 MPs after realising that the ruling party and government have failed to get the necessary numbers to pass Bill 10. Bill 10 remains rejected both in and outside parliament and any move to force it on throats of the citizens should be met with an equal force of equal proportion,” he said. “This desperate move by the PF will not work and is bound to fail and fail lamentably. The question is why this desperation to pass Bill 10 using all manipulative tactics when majority people and stakeholders have rejected it? Why has Bill 10 become a do-or-die activity for the ruling party and government? What beauty is behind this Bill 10 which the ordinary minds can’t see?”

Chipenzi urged members of parliament opposed to the passage of Bill 10 to remain steadfast, claim their freedom of choice, opinion and expression, challenge the devil in those purported standing orders that want to gag them and vote out Bill 10.

He said there is no law anywhere in any parliament in the world that stopped MPs from staging walkouts in protest against anything not to their liking.

Chipenzi said parliaments in Zimbabwe and South Africa have allowed their MPs to walk out when dissatisfied with a motion and that those walkouts have never been outlawed.

He said walk-outs were a form of protest and expression, opinion and formed part of the democratic dispensation.

“Why should Zambia start coming up with anti-freedom of expression, opinion and choice laws or standing orders in a constitutional democratic country like Zambia just to pass Bill 10? As advocates of good governance and democracy, we shall not remain silent when democracy is being raped, manipulated and harassed by selfish and fearful tin dictators. We shall stand to protect, defend and promote democracy and its values at all cost from being manipulated in our institutions of governance. To this end, we condemn strongly those standing orders being drafted ahead of a crucial vote on Bill 10 and call on ant-bill 10 MPs to reject them,” said Chipenzi. “We know the sponsors of those standing orders want to use the arrogance of numbers to adopt those standing orders in the main House since they have such numbers as only majority vote is needed to ratify the Orders but those targeted MPs must defy them in the interest of democracy and good legislative process and see what the Speaker or the sponsors will do to them. Let us all stand up and defend our democracy. It is under siege and attack from agents of bad governance and crookedness.”

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