VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina says the governments of Japan and India have accepted apologies rendered by Zambia following misinformation on bicycles that were allegedly donated by the two governments.
Last month, the Ministry of Home Affairs indicated that it had received a donation of bicycles from the government of Japan, a statement Japanese officials disputed and the same ministry clarified that the donation was from the Indian government.
During the Vice-President’s question time in Parliament yesterday, Msanzala member of parliament Peter Daka asked for clarity on information regarding the bicycles, which were shrouded in much speculation.
Vice-President Wina acknowledged there was a lot of speculation over the bicycles that found there way in police hands.
“Apparently, there were conflicting reports coming from various public relation officers in the Ministry of Home Affairs but the truth of mater is that the bicycles were a donation from the Indian government and some bicycles came through Ministry of Home Affairs as part of an ordered consignment of equipment for police and these bicycles were then donated to the police by Ministry of Home Affairs,” she explained. “Mention of the Japanese embassy was ruled out and government made presentation to the governments of Japan and India to apologise for misinformation the was circulated. The two countries have accepted the apologies and the bilateral relations between our countries is still cordial.”
Meanwhile, Vice-President Wina said complaints of discrimination in application of the law should not be brought to Parliament house, especially if made by a senior member of parliament who was refusing to change the law so that there was equitable application of the law under Bill 10.
She said this in response to Kabompo member of parliament Ambrose Lufuma, who said the nation had in recent times witnessed political intolerance to divergent views.
He said a large organised Bill 10 discussion at Intercontinental Hotel was disrupted by a known horde of PF cadres.
He also said PF cadres terrorised radio stations for merely hosting political figure like Hakainde Hichilema.
Lufuma said when MMD leader Nevers Mumba went to ZNBC to complain over a story relating to 2016 elections, he was arrested and charged for trespass and was prosecuted.
He wondered when the government was going to arrest the known PF cadres for trespass on private radio stations.
He also asked whether failure to arrest the known PF cadres was not a clear case of discrimination in the application of the rule of law in a democracy.
But Vice-President Wina said the issue was supposed to be handled, addressed and amended in Parliament and if Lufuma was very interested to see some of the contentious issues resolved, he should be in this house to debate Bill 10 and many other contentious issues in the constitutions that “we want to address so that this countries governance is put on its right footing”.
However, Vice-President Wina’s response to Lufuma prompted leader of opposition in Parliament Jack Mwiimbu to ask her which provision in Bill 10 particularly addresses discrimination in application of the law.
The Vice-President then referred to the public order Act, which she said dealt with matters of such nature.
“When political parties want to hold meetings, we all inform police to address these issues equitably without discrimination. If Public order Act is one of the laws that the honourable leader of opposition has been refusing to talk about or discuss, how does he expect any changes in behavour of implementers…? As leaders we should be truthful. We have been given many platforms, including Parliament to change laws that stifle our people,” she said.
And responding to a question by Mumbwa Central member of parliament Credo Nanjuwa on issuance of national registration cards, Vice-President Wina said the process was ongoing in all districts.
“I believe those that lost and want to acquire new NRC can go to Mumbwa and access the NRCs. Ministry of Home Affairs has not yet started mobile registration. I will urge the Minister of Home Affairs to clear the air on mobile issuance of NRCs…as soon as possible,” she said.
But Mazabuka member of parliament Gary Nkombo said there was discrimination of application of justice.
He said NRC were being issued in Lupiya, Chilongoshi villages in rural Kasama when the Vice-President was indicating that the Ministry of Home Affairs had not yet commenced the mobile NRC issuance exercise.
Nkombo also told the Vice-President that a UPND member of parliament was arrested and detained in Mongu but a minister in the PF government was arrested and never stepped in police cells.
He also pointed to the adjournment of the house last April on account of COVID-19.
He said three days ago member of parliament were informed through a circular that there were confirmed COVID-19 cases at Parliament but sittings have not been adjourned.
Vice-President Wina in response said it was impossible for her to respond to “so many questions that have meandered all over the show”.