Given Lubinda

JUSTICE minister Given Lubinda says President Edgar Lungu spends his nights peacefully, without any qualms about UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema’s perceived popularity.

And Lubinda says the current Constitution, which is weighed down by flaws, is a collective responsibility document and that his government is not to blame.

During The Assignment programme on Muvi TV on Sunday night, a Lubemba from Kitwe phoned in and alleged that the PF government wanted to block Hichilema from contesting the 2021 general elections.

“Today, Hakainde cannot move to any point of this country but he is a Zambian. He is running an opposition party that has got a lot of people – they voted for him, about one million plus. But he is not allowed to come, say, to Lufwanyama, he is not allowed to be maybe in Chililabombwe,” complained Lubemba.

“But we are seeing Harry Kalaba going round. Where is the fairness? This is our country! The minister should calm down. If you look at him, it’s like he is doing things in an emotional way. We want Lubinda to be the yellow man we used to know. Thank you.”

In response, Lubinda said: “Mr Lubemba, let me be very clear that a Constitution is not aimed at any particular individual.”

Lubinda said if the PF wanted to block Hichilema from the 2021 presidential race, using the yet-to-be amended Republican Constitution, they could not have “developed the roadmap that we have developed.”

“Now we have developed a roadmap where we are saying ‘can all players make submissions….’ You can see that there is mischief in all this business of saying ‘they want to block this one’. If indeed there is any desire on our part to do that, would we open the process? We are opening the process so that everybody can see what we want to take to Parliament,” Lubinda explained.

“Let me also say to you that this phobia that people think we have about Hakainde Hichilema…. As for President Edgar Lungu, he spends his nights very well, as he says to us in Cabinet. He has no qualms about Hakainde….”

Asked what clauses in the Constitution needed to be amended, Lubinda said they were many.

“[But] the law says before the amendment of the Constitution is presented to Parliament, it shall be gazetted for 30 days. For that reason, I’m not allowed to delve into those submissions. The submissions that we have received right now are under lock and key,” he said.

And Lubinda said the current Constitution, which is weighed down by flaws, was a collective responsibility document.

“Blame cannot be apportioned to the government nor can it be to the opposition. I have said this many times in Parliament that we are where we are together,” said Lubinda.

“We have brought ourselves where we are and it’s not time for us to apportion blame. At this moment, the issue of apportioning blame will not take us anywhere!”

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