The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) has called on the Minister of Justice to ignore calls by those crying wolf-wolf to withdraw the Constitutional Amendment Bill.
YALI President Andrew Nthewewe has told Journalists in Lusaka that if anything, the Minister of Justice Hon. Given Lubinda should table this Bill in Parliament this week, if anything by tomorrow, since the 30 days have elapsed from time Bill was published.
Mr. Nthewewe said stakeholders should allow the Bill to go through all the processes, including the Committee stage after the Second Reading when amendments can be introduced.
“We also challenge on our colleagues to make formal complaints of the alleged corruption to investigative wings now that their right to assemble and public make allegations was granted. Our fear is that if they don’t make these formal complaints, it may be difficult to get cooperation of the police to allow them hold such public gatherings in future,” he said.
“Last week, we saw Government deferring the process to enact the Electoral Process Amendment Bill and Public Order Bill from Parliament. This deferment has been misreported by some sections of the media that Government has withdrawn the Bills. Our records show that this is incorrect as the Bills are still before Parliament but have been deferred to allow Government table the Constitution Amendment Bill first. This means that the works already done on these two Bills remains valid up till the time the Bills had been considered by the parliamentary committees.”
He added that Zambians may recall that each and every citizen was accorded an opportunity to participate at the National Dialogue Forum, which was a consultative forum aimed at coming up with the people-led Bills for consideration by Parliament.
“Sadly some of our colleagues who are today crying wolf! Wolf! And protesting decided to abscond this noble and democratic process. However, the train has already started moving but we encourage them to make their voices heard through submissions to various Parliamentary Committees on all the three bills, including their demands for the Bills to be withdrawn,” he wondered.
The YALI President stated that his organization saw no reason why people should run to protestation when the doors for engagement and lobbying the Members of Parliament are still open.
He said his understanding of the protests is that they come only when all means of engagement and other civil ways have been exhausted.
He guided that currently, the Constitution Amendment Bill is not even before Parliament and so the protestations are not only misplaced but also premature, unfounded and baseless.