HAKAINDE Hichilema says there should a way to wrestle the leadership of “our country from these thugs irrespective of Bill 10 outcome”.
Following the Constitutional Court decision to throw off the Law Association of Zambia and Chapter One Foundation petitions over the Constitution (Amendment) Bill No.10 of 2019, the National Assembly has restored the Bill on Order Paper for debate on Tuesday.
The Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill, National Assembly of Zambia Bill No. 10 of 2019 was presented to the House on Friday, August 2, 2019.
However, LAZ challenged the PF’s move to remodel the Constitution in the Constitutional Court. But the court struck out the petition “for lack of merit”.
In his initial reaction, Hichilema said democracy was on the verge of collapse in Zambia.
“I’m disappointed by the ConCourt ruling to allow for Bill 10 to proceed for debate and possible enactment by the House. Our democracy is on the verge of collapse in favour of a corrupt and visionless regime intent on holding on to power. We must vigorously fight it,” he said.
Hichilema stressed the need to hold members of parliament particularly UPND parliamentarians, as many independents, and others to ensuring non-passage of Bill 10.
“Sure. But the tyrant only succeeds when the population allows it through fear, disunity or other forms of fragmentation. Unity of our people across distance, religion, ethnicity or other factors on Bill 10 is a must now than ever before,” said Hichilema. “We have to succeed one way or another to wrestle the leadership of our country from these thugs irrespective of Bill 10 outcome.”
Academician Sishuwa Sishuwa said Bill 10 must fall.
“What next for Bill 10? Well, the National Assembly can stop it,” he said. “Here is why MPs are the last shield in line. To pass Bill 10, the PF will require the support of a two-thirds majority – 111 out of the total 167 MPs – in the Assembly. Its current composition is as follows: PF 80, UPND 56, Independents 14, Nominated eight MMD three, FDD one NDC one, Vice-President, Speaker, First Deputy Speaker, Vacant one.”
Dr Sishuwa said the Speaker and First Deputy were free to vote, according to Article 79, as the two-thirds is calculated against the total of all members of the National Assembly.
“Blocking Bill 10 now depends on the resolve of UPND and independent MPs, who have the numbers to prevent the PF from reaching a two-thirds majority,” said Dr Sishuwa. “I am cautiously optimistic that most are resilient to bribery over this crucial matter and that Bill 10 will fail, as it must.”