Justice Minister Given Lubinda has described as misleading media reports suggesting that the consideration of the Constitutional Amendment Bill number 10 by Parliament has been curtailed by a court process in which former Cabinet Minister in the MMD Government, Dipak Patel, is challenging the legality of Government procuring public debt in contravention of the constitution.
In the petition Mr Patel is demanding an order compelling the Minister of Finance and Attorney General to present to the National Assembly a complete statement of the state of the public debt contracted from 2016 to date including the terms and conditions of the loans; within 14 days or such other time frame that the court may prescribe.
Mr Lubinda said contrary to reports in some sections of the media, the adjournment of the Second Reading of the Bill was as a result of an announcement by Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya that Zambia had recorded two confirmed cases of Coronavirus.
Speaking at a joint press briefing Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya, Government Parliamentary Chief Whip Brian Mundubile and Chembe Member of Parliament Sebastian Kopulande in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Lubinda said the consideration of the second reading of Bill 10 will still be on the Order Paper on the first day of resumption of sittings.
The explained that there are special circumstances under which proceedings of parliament may be stopped adding that when the House resumes sittings, people will know if the court action by Mr Patel is one of those special circumstances.
“No one must have any imaginations that consideration of Bill 10 has been removed from parliament because it has not,” Mr Lubinda said.
The Minister explained that the process of Bill number 10 cannot be stopped by anyone except Parliament itself.
The Minister appealed to all Zambian citizens to understand that Bill No. 10 is well-intended and not was being peddled by those opposed to it.
And Government Parliamentary Chief Whip Brian Mundubile explained that Parliament operates under the principle of Exclusive Cognisance which implies that the proceedings of Parliament cannot be interfered with by anyone or any institution except Parliament itself.
Mr Mundubile explained that given the importance of the risk of the Coronavirus, Republican Vice President Inonge Wina sought permission from the Speaker Justice Patrick Matibini to move a motion of adjournment.
He said this was in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order 33 (1).
Mr Mundubile noted that Parliamentarians have one solemn duty to represent the people that they serve.
He said it was unfortunate that some Members of Parliament had chosen to distance themselves from the people by walking out of parliament when the Bill was presented for Second Reading.
Mr Mundubile explained that prior presentation of the Bill on the floor of the House, Members of Parliament were encouraged to interact with their people and educate them on the importance of Constitutional Amendment Bill number 10 and collect their views and aspirations and present them to Parliament a matter some refused to heed.
He said his office had received petitions from the differently-abled people, trade unions, women groups and students to have the Bill go through.
He said this was an indication of how much people have understood the provisions in the Bill.
Mr Mundubile assured Zambians that a new constitution which speaks to their aspirations would soon be given to them.
Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya has urged the media to ensure that they churn-out factual information unlike publishing fake and misleading headlines on the Constitutional Amendment Bill number 10 of 2019.
Ms Siliya said the public relies on the media to interpret issues hence the need for the media to be above board.
Quoting from Warren Buffet, Ms Siliya said if personnel in the media were some of the most educated society would be better.
She said this is important because the media have a critical role to interpret a lot of information for the people.
She cited Coronavirus and the Constitutional Amendment Bill number 10 of 2019 as some of the issues the Zambian media were expected to interpret for the benefit of members of the general public.
Ms Siliya said this should, however, be backed with and premised on verified information adding that this is what is expected from a descent media house.
In Other News – WHO: Wuhan recovery gives hope to rest of world
The World Health Organisation said Friday that the Chinese epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak at last reporting no new cases gave hope to the rest of the world battling the pandemic.
The city of Wuhan registered no new cases of COVID-19 in 24 hours – for the first time since reporting its first case in December in an outbreak that has gone on to infect more than 250,000 people around the world and kill more than 11,000 people. read more
Source – LusakaTimes