The minister of Justice Given Lubinda has presented the highly contested Bill 10 to parliament for second reading this afternoon, but the presentation was marred by a boycott as opposition members of parliament from the United Party for National Development (UPND) walked out.
The UPND members walked out of the presentation citing doing so in solidarity with the people of Zambia who have vehemently rejected the Bill for being a draconian piece of legislation.
Speaking after the walk-out the leader of the opposition in Parliament Jack Mwiimbu said the Bill should rather be taken back to the people for further considerations and recommendations, before it could be brought back again.
Meanwhile, the party had already made its intention to walk-out known, in a recent televised programme another UPND Member of Parliament for Choma Central Conrnelius Mweetwa said walking out is provided for in the Constitution of Zambia under freedom of expression.
He has there are many ways of expressing oneself, adding that walking out is one such way of expressing displeasure about something.
At least 53 UPND MPs and Independent MPs walked out of parliament as Justice Minister Given Lubinda started presenting Constitutional Amendment bill no. 10 to Parliament for second reading.
The three members of Parliament from the opposition UPND have defied the party directive to walk out of Parliament when the Constitutional Amendment Bill known as Bill 10 was tabled, are; Solwezi West MP Teddy Kasonso, Nalikwanda MP, Prof. Geoffrey Lungwangwa and Mukumbuta Mulowa.
Meanwhile, commenting on those who remained seated while the rest of the opposition members of the UPND walked out, Mwiimbu said they were weak souls who had been paid by the ruling PF party to sell-out.
However, the Minister carried on with his presentation in the absence of the opposition legislators. Lubinda lambasted the walk out behaviour and integrity saying the UPND MPs, will be judged by the Zambian people.
Mr Lubinda has consistently said it was governments intention to see to it that all the lacunas in the amended constitution of 2016 are tabled in Parliament. He also announced the retention on the payroll for retired civil servants among other articles that were amended.
UPND Nalikwanda MP Geoffrey Lungwangwa who contributed to the debate, said strengthening institutions in the country is important because Zambia is going through a young constitutional democracy.
The Zambian National Assembly is composed of 89 PF MPs, UPND (58) MMD (4), 14 independent law makers and 1 from FDD bringing the total number to 166 members.
The constitutional amendment Bill 10, requires to garner a minimum two thirds majority to enable it pass. Bill no.10 has become hotly contested topic with some sections of society advocating for its withdrawal.