Tuesday 16th January 2018

Draft constitution handover set

MINISTER of Justice Wynter Kabimba has announced that the final report of the draft constitution is ready for submission to President Sata and he has assured that Government is committed to enacting a people-driven constitution.
And Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini yesterday prematurely suspended business of the House following continued interjections by some opposition members of Parliament (MPs) over the constitution-making process.
Mr Kabimba told Parliament yesterday that he will facilitate the handover process.
The minister said he is currently in consultation with Mr Sata on the suitable date for the handover of the document.
He explained that the handover has been delayed because the technical committee delivered the document to him instead of President Sata.
Mr Kabimba said he objected to receiving the report and took it back to chairperson of the technical committee Judge Annel Silungwe’s office pending consultations with the President on the handover date.
“It is important for me to state that one of the reasons leading to the delay of the handover of the report was the attempt at one point by the technical committee to hand over the report to me instead of the President, who is the appointing authority of the committee.
“In his speech to this House in October 2012, the President informed the nation that upon receipt of the final draft report, Government will engage stakeholders on the post-handover roadmap,” Mr Kabimba said.
He said the Government remains committed to enacting a people-driven constitution.
Mr Kabimba, however, said Government is dismayed with insinuations by some sections of society that it lacks political will to enact a new constitution.
He added that it is also not true to suggest that Zambia has become polarised on the constitution-making process.
“It is also not true to further suggest that there exists one group of stakeholders which is championing the process on one hand, with the Government on the other hand resisting such a demand against the people’s interest.
“What is true is that the PF government remains committed to the constitution-making process to the extent that the programme remains wholly-owned by and is also representative of the views of all the citizens of this country, irrespective of status,” he said.
Mr Kabimba said Zambians should understand the position taken by Mr Sata on various pronouncements on the constitution.
“Yes the Zambian people need a comprehensive constitution, which should address some lacunas in the current one, in line with the demands of the tenets of democracy,” Mr Kabimba said.
And Dr Matibini suspended business and subsequently adjourned the House when opposition repeatedly chanted “constitution”.
This was after the Speaker overruled Mazabuka member of Parliament Gary Nkombo (UPND) on his follow-up question on the ministerial statement issued by Mr Kabimba.
The MPs stood in the middle of the House and the session for questions for oral answer also elapsed as the backbenchers who were due to ask questions protested.
This prompted Minister of Youth and Sport Chishimba Kambwili to rise on a point of order on if the opposition MPs were in order to disrupt business of the House.
Dr Matibini ruled them out of order and subsequently suspended business.
Earlier, newly-elected MP for Katuba Jonas Shakafuswa was welcomed into the House and he took oath before Dr Matibini.
And Mr Kabimba congratulated the UPND for scooping the seat using the “Mapatizya formula”.
“I hope he [Mr Shakafuswa] is going to help us slaughter the bills in this House because we have a lot of work ahead,” Mr Kabimba said.
He congratulated the PF for conducting civilised campaigns and commiserated with the MMD for losing the seat to the UPND.

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