By Kangwanda Mucembele
THE Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) has requested UPND members to lobby the Executive to withdraw Constitution Amendment Bill Number 10 of 2019.
In an interview, Sesheke UPND member of parliament Romeo Kang’ombe said BRE held a meeting with six MPs, informing them of their desire to have the Bill withdrawn.
But Kang’ombe said Nalikwanda UPND member of parliament Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa and his Senanaga counterpart Mukumbuta Mulowa insisted that they would support the bill.
“The meeting was all about Bill 10. They have requested us to lobby the Executive to withdraw it so that it can be started afresh. We were the six of us, others were committed with other duties. Lungwangwa and Mukumbuta they have not agreed, they want it to be passed.
You may wish to know that current constitution that we are using was amended in 2016 and what happened prior before the amendment of the constitution, the draft that was there was thrown out, certain clauses were shot down. One of which was introduced is the one that has affected the BRE article 165 which strips the powers of the Litunga. Now, what guarantee do we give to the BRE and what guarantee can the PF give us that they are not going to do the same now? They are cheating the BRE that they are going to amend this and this and give back powers to the Litunga as it was the case,” Kang’ombe said.
“I can only support the constitution if it is totally withdrawn and we sit down, harmonize and put clauses that we agree to once that is done, there will be no need of debating and we can pass it in one hour. But what is difficult about the PF to withdraw the Constitution Amendment? So the BRE position is my position. Even if you bring me a truck and trailer of money, even if you point a gun to me, I will never support it. I am among the few that have been blessed before joining public office.”
Kang’ombe disclosed that the Ngambela also held a meeting with Justice Minister Given Lubinda and the Attorney General.
“We refused to be together with Given and Attorney General, they held the meeting with the Prime Minister the Ngambela. They told them to withdraw it but because they do not have the spine… for the Attorney General, I understand he is a civil servant but for Lubinda who is a politician, because this thing needs a political will, his origin is questionable. In as much as they give these assurances, they failed in 2016, what would make it different now?” asked Kang’ombe.
But when contacted, Lubinda said he would not tell this reporter about the details of the meeting.
“When I have meeting and I want you to know, I call you. I am not going to tell you because somebody else has told you something and I get involved? No. When I have a meeting, it is up to me and the other person I was having a meeting with to decide whether we want that meeting.
In an interview with BBN Justice minister Given Lubinda said Traditional leaders in Zambia have cried too much because of Article 165, which similarly has taken away authority from paramount chiefs, the Litunga, which authority was helping to make sure that there was harmony in these chiefdoms. There is a proposal that, now, we have a clear representation of women, youths, the disabled reserved by way of Proportional Representation. We now have an opportunity to give power to amend the Constitution to give powers to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to delimitate so that constituencies can be delimited to bring development closer to the people. We have constituencies in this country that are bigger than other countries.”
Members of parliament returned to Lusaka and they have resumed sitting yesterday Tuesday, June 9 and Bill 10 is expected to be re-introduced to the House.
PARLIAMENTARY debates will only commence on Tuesday June 16, 2020 as parliamentarians are this week undergoing orientation on how business will proceed amid the Covid-19 pandemic.