Nevers Mumba at a Samfya Rally
Nevers Mumba

Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) President Dr Nevers Sekwila Mumba says that his party reserves the right to press the “Eject” button in the ongoing constitutional process in Parliament if there are any manipulations or machinations by the Patriotic Front (PF).

Addressing a press briefing in Kitwe yesterday, Dr Mumba said that important concerns were raised by MMD Nalikwanda MP Honourable Professor Geoffrey Lungwanga on the possibility of the PF mutilating the constitution or diluting it through unauthorized amendments. He said that the MMD would withdraw their support for the constitution amendment bill if there were any manipulations or machinations or if any strange “ghosts” appeared from the PF.

He further said that the MMD as initiators of the process through the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) would not allow the bill to fail but would see it through to the end unlike the United Party for National Development (UPND) whose Members of Parliament took part in the the NCC and collected allowances but abstained from voting in the end. He said that the PF walked out of Parliament before the vote on a similar constitution amendment bill in 2011. He blamed the PF and UPND for the subsequent failure of the constitution process.

Dr Mumba also touched on the crisis on the Copperbelt with job losses of more than 7,000 and said that solving the crisis would be his first assignment once elected into office. He referred to his successful negotiation for an $8 billion investment by Barrick-Gold while he was Canadian High Commissioner which created 4,000 jobs.

Dr Mumba’s full speech is below.

PRESS BRIEFING ON 1ST DECEMBER 2015

BY MMD PRESIDENT DR NEVERS SEKWILA MUMBA

Members of the Media Fraternity; Members of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy; Our Party supporters; Ladies and Gentlemen.

Today, I wish to address a very important issue that has been on the minds of Zambians for the last several days; namely the Constitution making process which culminated in the Constitution Amendment Bill number 16 passing the second reading in Parliament last week Thursday 26th November 2015.

On behalf of the MMD, I wish to clearly explain our position so that the nation is fully aware of the reasons why we supported the bill. I also wish to address some unfounded allegations from some quarters that are mis-representing our stance.

Before I delve into the matter at hand, I firstly wish to congratulate our members of Parliament for helping attain the two-thirds majority vote. The debate has now been opened up so that we can finally make tangible progress in enacting a new people-driven constitution which we have not succeeded to do since 1972 when the first Constitutional Review Commission was set up.

Getting into the matter at hand, I wish to reiterate our position which has been consistent by referring to what two of our honourable Members of Parliament stated on the floor of the house during the debate last week; namely Chembe MP and MMD National Secretary Honourable Mwansa Mbulakulima and Chipata Central MP and MMD Parliamentary Whip Honourable Mutolo Phiri.

In summary, we as the MMD support the piece-meal amendment of the constitution because it is the most practical method with a higher probability of success and is also the least expensive. As Honourable Mbulakulima said in Parliament last week, we would have loved to have the entire document presented for enactment but are constrained by provisions relating to the Bill of Rights which can only be amended by a Referendum.

We are of the opinion that subjecting the entire document to a referendum carries the risk of failure for the entire process if the final document is voted against or if voter turnout does not meet the stipulated legal requirements such as 50% of ELIGIBLE voters participating in the vote. It is said that “a bird in hand is worth two in the bush”. The draft constitution contains several progressive clauses which if enacted shall be a huge positive boost to governance, politics and the economy. These clauses are a must and the following are some of them:

1. 50%+1 electoral system which ensures that we shall have a majority president unlike the current system where a candidate can become president even with 10% of the vote as long as he or she has the highest vote.

2. Presidential Running Mate Clause to prevent a by-election in case the sitting president is no longer able to continue in office. It is important for this bill to clarify explicitly what happens if the Running Mate who was Vice-president also has to leave office while completing the term of his predecessor and the mechanism of selection of the Vice-President in these kinds of scenarios. We have already gone through two costly presidential by-elections in 2008 and 2015 at huge cost. These could have been avoided with the Running Mate Clause in place.

3. Dual Citizenship for Zambians to make it easier for them to invest back home.

4. Strengthening of the Auditor General’s office to effect prosecutions of erring civil servants.

5. Mandatory national Debt contraction through parliament to prevent the current situation where Cabinet can just borrow anyhow and leave future generations in perpetual debt.

6. The Supplementary Appropriation Act to prevent government spending money that has not been pre-approved by parliament.

7. Preventing Parliamentary Defectors from contesting seats for life of that Parliament. This shall eliminate costly unnecessary by-elections.

Colossal sums of money have been spent on Constitutional Review Commissions since 1972 and we are still going round in circles which must stop now. We shall not abrogate our responsibility to defend and speak on behalf of Zambians through MMD elected MPs. NGOs and all other interest groups must learn to respect the opinions of others without resorting to mudslinging and character assassinations. Just because we support the constitution bill does not mean we have been bought by the PF as some NGOs are insinuating.

Important concerns were raised by MMD Nalikwanda MP Honourable Professor Geoffrey Lungwanga on the possibility of the PF mutilating the constitution or diluting it through unauthorized amendments. As stated by our Whip Honourable Phiri, we as MMD shall not tolerate that and we reserve the right to press the “Eject” button. This is another warning to PF that if there are any manipulations or machinations, or if any strange “ghosts” appear from the PF, we shall immediately withdraw our support for the bill. We are only here because of the promise that the constitution shall be enacted with the aforementioned progressive clauses.

I also wish to clarify that despite statements to the contrary, the failure of the last constitution bill in 2011 was due to the PF and UPND who both defeated the bill. The PF by walking out before a vote was taken and the UPND by going to parliament but abstaining from voting. This shall not be allowed to repeat itself and that is why we support the bill. We are only interested in the end result and not pointless debates.

We as MMD were the initiators of this process through the National Constitution Conference (NCC) under late president Levy Mwanawasa and the current document being debated is the product of the NCC. We want to see this whole process through to completion and we shall not abandon it halfway the way the UPND did by collecting allowances from the NCC but abstaining from voting in the end.

How can we reject the process we started by depending on speculations about the intentions of the PF who are merely completing the process we started? We have been consistent on this issue from the beginning including during the Presidential debate just prior to the January 2015 presidential election.

Finally, we are aware that there is much debate remaining before this bill is enacted but we remain confident that reason shall finally prevail and hopefully Zambians will have a document that addresses the most cardinal issues in the governance of the nation.

I thank you,

Dr Nevers Sekwila Mumba
MMD President

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Nevers Mumba living on borrowed time while the cowardly Felix Mutati schemes to take over MMD. For those of us with a little wisdom and foresight we know that MMD cannot be salvaged at this point

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    • It is being said that there are no resources to go the referendum way in amending the constitution which is the inclusive way of the citizens providing oversight on the wastefulness of Zambian resources. On the other hand, the government is able to relentlessly raise billions of dollars in borrowed funds and misuses it because there is no constitutional oversight to ensure prudent utilisation of those borrowed funds. Zambia should have invested in ensuring there is an acceptable constitution first to make leadership accountable for economic decisions and the rest would have fell in place. The country’s priorities need alignment for sure.

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  2. Put the draft constitution before Zambians for referendum first.Our MP’s are political hyenas who’ll eat the beefy parts 1st then leave the carcass for poor Zambians to approve.

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  3. it will be good if majority of mmd members support these pieces of amendments in our constitution but i strongly foresee the pf trying to manipulate this process once the upnd mps decide to support it at a later stage.with the economy biting on majority of zed,ecl s only hope is this constitution.

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  4. What’s this man talking about? When did PF ever promise anything they fulfilled? & to threaten to do an “eject button” on who, you will just land in enemy territory like the Russian pilot. MMD has no principled position on this matter. Most of your MPs are PF & you have no control over them. You are just hanging on to a sliver in the hope that maybe the clauses will be passed as proposed in the draft.

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  5. Prevention is better than cure. It will be too late to eject pf once they achieve their intention to manipulate the constitution.

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  6. Spot on MMD. This is about Zambia and not narrow political interests! The process has also got my full support and a Zambian voter!

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  7. Hmmn….. In this day and age someone talking about an eject button? Is this man still using radio cassette players?

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  8. Advice to Nervous Mumba: you are a Johnny Come Late. In March 2011, MMD was pushing for a Constitution without the 50%+1 provision. That’s why UPND did not support that bill. Talk to VJ who was Chief Whip for the correct story, and not this PFoolish version.

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    • UPND is still refusing to participate with the 50%+1 clause included in the Constitution amendment bill of 2015. Why? These are the reasons I’m always lost concerning UPND’s interests.

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  9. Comment:UPND, remember that you chewed NCC money pretending to support the constitution bill in 2011.That was a criminal offense. You are supposed to be in jail all of you including your president, HH.

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    • May I explain issues of process and procedure. In enacting an constitution is a process that goes through various stages. In case of the current proposed Zambian constitution, the first stage was to gather inputs from the general citizenry. A body was created by the executive to do that. It came to be referred to as the NCC. It comprised reps from all sectors of the Zambian population, which included MPs from the Zambian National Assembly. (Ruling and opposition members). The mandate of the NCC was clearly spelled out in the brief known as the Terms of Reference (ToRs). Because Sata was a control freak he expelled all PF MPs who were supposed to serve on the NCC. Contrary to what PF is saying out their, NCC MPs who served on this body concluded the portion of the mandate given to the NCC…

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    • PF MPs who were supposed to serve on the NCC. Contrary to what PF is saying out their, NCC MPs who served on this body concluded the portion of the mandate given to the NCC and as such were duely paid for the work they did. The next level was to take the draft to the minister of justice, where it got stuck for sometime. Anyhow, when it went to Parliament , which is another stage of the process, MPs were voting according to their party manifesto and not on individual sentiments. By the way, this was after lobbying with the ruling party. When there was no agreement between MMD and UPND, the latter decided to opopose the bill. The rest is history. Why then should a party that’s providing checks and balance s be held to account when a government of the day fails to fulfill it 90days…

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  10. Only in Zambia can a straight forward process of amendments and bills that are as easy as night and day take 4 generations to enact. 1972 is a long time ago.

    Viva President Nawakwi.

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  11. NEVERS MUMBA IS SURPRSING EVERYONE OF LATE. HE SEEMS TO BE THE ONLY POLITICIAN MAKING SENSE. ALL THOSE HYNAS AND JACKALS WHO CALLED HIM NAMES ARE SHAKING.

    UPND IS NOT CHAMPIONING THE CCAUSE OF THE PEOPLE, BUT FOR INGOMBE ILEDE.

    WHY DID THE UPND MPS NOT TURN DOWN THE ALLOWANCES? THESE LOT DOES NOT BELIEVE IN ANYTHING BUT JUST TOGET INTO POWER.

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