Parliament removes proportional representation clause seeking to increase number of MPs

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Members of Parliament
Members of Parliament

PARLIAMENT last night overwhelmingly agreed to remove the mixed member proportional representation clause from the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment Bill) National Assembly Bill (NAB) Number 17 of 2015.

The House voted 110 in favour of pending the proposal with 39 objecting and 1 abstaining.

This followed protracted debate by members of parliament (MPs) on whether or not the clause must remain on the bill.

The Proportional Representation Clause sought to increase the number of members of parliament by 94.

Overall the Amendment Bill number 17 of 2015 seeks to amend non-contentious issues in the 1996 Republican Constitution such as 50 percent plus one Presidential Electoral Threshold and Vice Presidential Running Mate Clause.

Minister of Justice Ngosa Simbyakula in proposing an amendment to the bill meant to remove the proportional representation (PR) clause said this was necessitated by the need to provide for further consultation.

“We are proposing that the proportional representation be packed for the time being for further reflection and consultation to a later stage. The Patriotic Front is not discarding this principle of PR. We thought the people of Zambia should further reflect on this proposal,” Dr Simbyakula said.

During debate, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Chishimba Kambwili said it would be irresponsible for the Government to pass the clause which would entailed more costs.

He noted that the proposal includes increasing the number of MPs to 94 but that Government at the moment cannot meet the cost of more MPs.

He wondered why UPND would object to pending the costly proposal when they (the opposition party) complained that the Cabinet is bloated after it was increased by three.

He said instead of spending money on 94 more MPs it would be more prudent to spend the money on timely payment of salaries for civil servants and for buying medicines.

‘It would be irresponsible for us as the people in Government to add on the number of MPs when we have few doctors, few nurses. That money you want to pay (more) MPs let us go and pay for more teachers, more nurses and buy drugs in hospitals,” he said.

Kawambwa MP Nickson Chilangwa said MPs should earn their seats and suggested that the number could be increased by splitting big constituencies.

UPND MPs Jack Mwiimbu and Garry Nkombo objected to pending the clause because it is what the people wanted to see in the constitution of Zambia.

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38 COMMENTS

  1. Ok gentlemen and ladies that is a good decision. we do not need many of you feeding on us poor people. Thank you for this decision

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    • You mean JUST A FEW TO CONTINUE STEALING, WITH MAJORITY Party Nincompoops NOT OBJECTING TO SUPPLIMENTARY EXPENDITURES!!! Monkeys in the field indeed!!!

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    • Fota Nkonde
      Yes a small number of thieves is better than many thieves. Most of our MPs are thieves and baboons.

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    • On the face of the argument from the majority MPs, it looks like it is cost saving and good idea not to increase the number of lawmakers. When this clause was submitted by the Zambian public and debated in the Constitutional Conference, there were acceptable reasons why it was moved forward to be part of the referendum question; it had been found necessary and must have had obviously made sense. What has changed is that Zambia had money then and it is broke now. The question is why it is broke? Needless to answer,…. we all know where the buck stops.

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    • Kasempa constituency, Namwala constituency, Mumbwa constituency and many others like sinda, Malambo etc are so big that the ear MP does not even the boundaries of his/her constituency

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    • It seems alot of people MISUNDERSTAND PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION – IT was MEANT to COUNTER the “Party Cadrerism” in Parly, the Nincompoops just vote becoz their party is in power,
      The NON-PARTY representatives are meant TO COUNTER this mentality & NEUTRALISE their vote!!
      The CLAUSE was never about Money!! Which anyway the current nincompoops are spending like there is no tomorrow!!!!

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    • Zambians are always missing the point. Proportional representation is what could have brought unity to the country. Its very disheartening to belong to such a country of dunderheads. This winner takes all will ensure that the country is forever divided. Cry my beloved country.

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    • It’s incredible to see the ignorance of Zambians displayed in the comments…Please guys learn to read don’t just agree with a headline news without understanding the implications of what the Mps have done.You are the same people crying about PF bribing opposition Mps, numerous by elections..now you support the very clause that would have help rectify this….Common sense is not common!

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  2. Who included this satanic clause in the new constitution? Just as well the current MPs don’t want more of them coming onboard. Good job !!!

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    • Yes, these MPs are very good professional THIEVES and are so selfish they definitely do not want to share their luxuries.

      Just wait a bit and we will see them vote unanimously for salary increases AGAIN!

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    • Great suggestion that they be listed! I think it would be nice if the way MP’s vote in the house would be put to the public so that citizens can demand accountability for their actions! MP’s being representatives of the people should exhibit what the constituents want in parliament!

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  3. Is the Zambia Parliament really a parliament representing the will of the people of this republic ? I think in the near future it will be worthwhile and prudent to make a major overhaul of the functions of that august house. When I look at the functions of our parliament in relation with other houses like the US Congress for instance, there is no doubt that a huge difference exist between the two. Our country has been independent for over 50 years now and nothing has changed in many of these fake laws which contradict the true norms of independence. In short, the colonial laws which were meant to subdue the citizens of this country are still upheld up to this time. Just what does the bunch of MPs in Zambia do, what kind of debates do they hold ? Currently, it is no mistake to state that…

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    • Well what needs to CHANGE, ISN’T PARLIAMENT, but THE PEOPLE WE SEND TO PARLIAMENT, most of them are mposa mabwe – what do you expect?? They can hardly read, yet you expect them to understand the INTRICACIES OF PARLIAMENT!!!!

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  4. Ba upnd naimwe olo ni opposition sure,some things just require common sense,the 150 of you are failures,do you think we the people would want to increase that number?

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  5. Are we this dumb? How do we forget that the CRC went round the country collecting proposals, compiled them then went round again to present them, then there was the NCC & then the technical committee. You mean Kambwili is more intelligent than all these processes to notice the cost implication.
    Yaba! The mutilation has started in ernest. Mukanjeba.

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    • Copper stone thinking!

      The Constitution is for future generations, but the fat pig can only think as far as his own salary!

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    • The tragedy of the current Zambian parliament is that the majority of the MPs cannot see beyond their noses. Even the arguments that Kambwili has put up do not make sense in country where the govrnment budgets for 150 by-elections every year. It is better to have knowledgeable MPs brought in through PR than having a house full of useless MPs elected by a largely illiterate and ignorant electorate.

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    • Most people commenting on LT do not seem to know what proportional representation is. The main aim this was proposed was to decentralize Government and allow locals to make decisions in provinces and districts. It was designed to remove bureaucracy and increase efficiency. Above to was going to bring unity in the country because the national cake was going to be share equally. This secret policy of certain groups of people eating the largest share of the national Cake will bring war in Zambia. I repeat this selfishness of other Groups of people in Zambia of eating the largest share of the national cake will bring war. I think peace is cheaper than war there fore I support the close to stay. Numbers are not important than peace.

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    • @itizi turu. BUT ARE YOU SAYING PARLIAMENT IS THERE TO ONLY RUBBER STAMP WHAT A FEW PEOPLE THOUGHT DURING THE CRC OR NCC? MIND YOU THE SAME PEOPLE VOTED FOR THESE MPS TO BE DOING EXACTLY WHAT THEY HAVE DONE.

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  6. All eyes on parliament for now:)….basop, MPs you are all under public surveillance, we all need checks and balances, yes? Shelving a clause or deferring to a later date sounds better than amending it, I suppose. but the temptation to do a political dribble is so high….with a clear partisan divide!

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  7. Thank you to you MPs who voted against having an additional 94 MPs. I think it is good that the debate has come at this time of economic challenges, everyone is now thinking about costs. Can you imagine what would have been the result if this debate came during high copper prices? We would have passed the extra 94 mouths in our sleep only to wake up too late when the economy collapses. I do agree that some constituencies need to be split up, but not with this proposed increase which would only accommodate the Grand Coalition partners who only want a shortcut to the parliamentary gravy train under the pretext of the so called “people”, which actually means themselves.

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  8. Thank God this had to pass through parliament for scrutiny! I shudder to think that even constitution amendments that were made off the cuff by the people, off the the top of their heads, and found themselves in the bill from notes by commissioners, could have sneaked through without much thought.
    This vindicates that the Grand Coalition got it all wrong when they demanded that there should be no debate because these are the “wishes of the people”. Similarly, all children have wishes! So Edgar Chagwa Lungu was right all the time, ALL THE TIME, if this is anything to go by. Let’s hear from HH now, any comments economic manager, sir?

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    • The government or president Lungu is not our father. What makes you think the ideas of 150 politicians are better than those of 900 citizens who worked on the constitution through the NCC or Technical Committee?

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    • Mwe bantu – The job of the 900 was to collect what people said, period. It is now time to sift through. You can bring PR back when you have the numbers – it has just been shelved.

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  9. What great news! Some may not realize the significance of what was achieved last night if the Constitution went through committee stage with just this amendment. The big amendments that were rumored to being proposed by GRZ would have chipped away some of the core principles of the transformed governance system. Alas, it looks like it was just a rumor thankfully. Thank you MPs for being progressive; thank you GRZ & the President for exhibiting unprecedented leadership on the Constitution. This is a key event in the history of this country that I thought I’ll not live long enough to witness. Well done Zambia & God Bless Zambia.

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  10. The callousness of certain fellow compatriots in fidgeting with a variety of constitutional traditions has been confirmed again. For the academic community, then that is intellectually challenging to determine the rationale behind different approaches to the same basic issues in the Rule of Law, Good Governance and the Respect of Human Rights. National issues are many and varied. Some are very urgent, others are not so urgent. Some compatriots are not happy with drastic amendments for no apparent reason. They are also right. For the sake of progress and adherence to standard procedure, the new Constitution as per Referendum could easily get introduced first. After some tome, then any set of new amendments could be admissible.

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  11. Things will be taken out of context as they are tossed out of the draft. This is what happens when there is a parallel agenda in doing things. The spirit of most of those clauses is being lost in excuses and economic qualification of why it cannot be done. The idea behind it outweighs most of these reasons.

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  12. I have said this before, in drafting this document we had students, priests, lawyers representatives, the unemployed, politicians,Kaponyas in short representation from all of society. It was debated and agreed. So who gives 150 or so politicians the right to start removing and adding things. I think a lot of people here have eyes but can’t see. Never trust your government whether it’s PF, UPND, FDD, UNIP etc or DEMOCRAT, REPUBLICAN in the US. If you do then I am sorry you are just naive.

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  13. kambwali says its costly the money should go on teachers, medicines etc. how about increasing ministries eg mines and energy previously it was one now two meaning more man power running these ministries in turn what do we get ? fako just eating our money.

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  14. ..I doubt very much if half of our MPs understand what the PR is all about and how the system work….

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  15. These proposals were done at a great cost by crc and ncc. Kambwili should know that this document is not only for PF government but for future generations to come! This idi0t can’t think beyond his salary and allowances! These f00ls have been preaching that the economic problems we are facing are global and that people have come to understand and they don’t mind their suffering! What an idi0t! You think people can believe that nonsense when they are seeing you fattening everyday and building mansions everywhere! Uli mbwa cikala!

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  16. These proposals were done at a great cost by crc and ncc. Kambwili should know that this document is not only for PF government but for future generations to come! This idi0t can’t think beyond his salary and allowances! These f00ls have been preaching that the economic problems we are facing are global and that people have come to understand and they don’t mind their suffering! What an idi0t! You think people can believe that nonsense when they are seeing you fattening everyday and building mansions everywhere! Uli mbwa cikala!!

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  17. These proposals were done at a great cost by crc and ncc. Kambwili should know that this document is not only for PF government but for future generations to come! This idi0t can’t think beyond his salary and allowances! These f00ls have been preaching that the economic problems we are facing are global and that people have come to understand and they don’t mind their suffering! What an idi0t! You think people can believe that nonsense when they are seeing you fattening everyday and building mansions everywhere! Uli mbwa cikala

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  18. Those were proposals. But parliament has powers to amend and approve. It is now to e to work. New constitution is unstoppable. Viva Lungu. You kept your words to shame the devil. Why can’t UPND show appreciation. It is this ‘oppose all’ that make them irrelevant. 50 + 1 here it comes. The losers will always lose. At least we are happy to be part of this generation that managed to change the constitution.

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  19. Well done on this one. These UPND wanted to come to parliament using the back door .Why should we ve extra 94 useless MRS? I GREAT job done.

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