VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina yesterday told Parliament that those who shot down Bill 10 should not, from now onwards, complain about the vastness of constituencies.
But CiSCA, overjoyed in witnessing the collapse of Bill 10, reminded the PF that scheming is not governing.
Vice-President Wina claimed that Bill 10 was a piece of legislation that sought to empower marginalised people in society, like women, youths and the differently abled.
The Vice-President was responding to a question from Nakonde PF member of parliament Yizukanji Siwanzi, during the Vice-President’s Question Time in Parliament.
In his question, Siwanzi said: “Your Honour the Vice-President, yesterday (Thursday) we witnessed the enemy of progress in the name of UPND and its ally, standing in the way of the bill that would have seen constituencies in this country delimitated.”
“Now that we are in this situation, we would love to find out, Your Honour, what’s the way forward? The Zambians are still eager to see that their constituencies are reduced in size so that the service can be taken [closer to the people],” asked Siwanzi.
In response, Vice-President Wina said the non-passing of Bill 10 would have a devastating effect on many issues, not only on delimitation.
“I just wonder as to who the people who are celebrating today whether they will have legitimate answers to face the Christians, the churches that wanted to see the Christian nation clause actualised in the Constitution,” Vice-President Wina said. “Whether they will be able to face the chiefs to ensure that the chiefs understand why this was shot down to their disadvantage, whether they will be able to face the youth, the women and people with disabilities.”
She added that for the last 50 years, women in Zambia had struggled to have their voice heard in decision-making organs.
“This was quelled by the opposition that felt that women should not come to the table where decisions are made,” Vice-President Wina said. “So, what message should we take to the women – to tell them that the opposition political parties do not want to see the advancement of women? Bill 10 was going to introduce affirmative action where the number of women in Parliament, in councils, the number of youths in Parliament, in councils, the number of people with disability in Parliament, in councils would have increased.”
She complained that all that would not happen because of the collapse of Bill 10.
“This was the only chance that advancement of women in decision-making positions would have been realised. Now we kill a piece of legislation that was coming to empower marginalised people in our society!” Vice-President Wina said. “I don’t know what the proponents of the anti-Bill 10 will say to the retirees, to the Bank of Zambia that wanted certain changes in the law governing the management of the bank.”
She said PF lawmakers had done their part on Bill 10.
Vice-President Wina added that Zambians would be the ones to judge.
She noted that in the real sense, the fall of Bill 10 would deprive people of required services.
Vice-President Wina said she felt sad for the opposition, on the downfall of Bill 10.
“The members of parliament who are representing vast constituencies, especially in rural areas, from onwards they should not complain because they are the ones who shot down Bill 10,” said Vice-President Wina. “So, for those members to abrogate their responsibilities to the people who voted them into office, to ignore the wishes of the Zambian people, they would have themselves to blame.”
But Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) acting chairperson Judith Mulenga issued a statement yesterday to join the rest of Zambia in celebrating the fall of the infamous Bill 10.
She said the collapse of the bill was the only logical conclusion because the national dialogue Act and its accompanying National Dialogue Forum (NDF) gave birth to: “a stillborn Bill 10.”
“We further resoundingly applaud the patriotic judicious members of parliament that refused to betray the people of Zambia,” Mulenga said. “By defeating Bill 10 in Parliament after so many ploys by the PF government and their cronies to hoodwink Zambians into believing that if Bill 10 flops we will suffer the MPs have shown their allegiance to the Constitution.”
She said the Constitution’s authority was derived from Zambians.
“The joy of witnessing the unplugging of the life support system from the comatose Bill 10 was indescribable,” Mulenga said. “CiSCA would like to remind the PF that scheming is not governing; scheming is just pure treachery unworthy of a democratically elected government.”
Mulenga added that the collapse of Bill 10 was a lesson to those in the PF that constitution-making processes could not circumvent the doctrine of consensus building.
She said an approach of turning constitution-making into a battle ground was “foolhardy” as the end result was the well-deserved defeat that Bill 10 suffered.
CiSCA reminded those in the PF government that: “when you are in power, there is no need to show where power lies on every issue.”
“Not following laid down procedures is what has plunged our country into debt. The late highly vexatious Bill 10 project will now be a case study of ‘how not to facilitate a constitution-making process’ in constitutional law,” she said. “CiSCA thanks the supporters of Bill 10 for enhancing democratic discourse and the affirmation that freedom of expression is mutually inclusive. If you exercise your freedom of expression, then do not be outraged if anyone says something back in disagreement.”
Mulenga asked Zambians who live by the value of ‘silence is golden’ to reflect on Martin Luther King Junior’s maxim of ‘the ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people’.
She stated that the Constitution was not an easy read.
“But if you cannot bring yourself to read it all just learn these three articles; Article 1, ‘this Constitution is the supreme law of the land; Article 2, every person has the right and duty to defend this Constitution and resist or prevent a person from overthrowing, suspending or illegally abrogating this Constitution and Article 5, Sovereign authority vests in the people of Zambia, which may be exercised directly or through elected or appointed representatives or institutions,” said Mulenga.
“Finally, we urge State Counsel John Sangwa and Kelvin Bwalya Fube and indeed other legal minds, to, in this race of constitutionalism, take the relay baton from the MPs and stop the 3rd term by challenging the unlawful nomination of those whom our Constitution disqualifies from standing.”