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Alba Iulia
Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Proposal to increase Parliamentary Seats from 156 to 235 is unnecessary and wasteful-Hamududu

Headlines Proposal to increase Parliamentary Seats from 156 to 235 is unnecessary and...

former UPND Bweengwa Member of Parliament Highvie Hamududu
former UPND Bweengwa Member of Parliament Highvie Hamududu

Party of National Unity President Highvie Hamududu says the proposed increase in the number of constituencies from 156 to 235 constituencies would be unnecessary and wasteful, both a moral and financial irregularity against the general interest of citizens.

Mr Hamududu says an MP is not an executor of development, but just provides oversight together with councillors who ordinarily live within the wards of constituencies.

He said Zambia’s problem is not inadequate representation in principle, but inefficient government service delivery machinery and that must be the main centre of attention.

Mr Hamududu said the seemingly silent bipartisan agreement in effecting this increase in constituencies reveals the common inherent selfishness of politicians, across the board.

He said this proposed huge increase in the number of parliamentary seats is not right and must be rejected as it comes with huge bureaucratic costs incommensurate with the welfare of citizens.

The Electoral Commission of Zambia recently recommended that the number of constituencies be increased from the current 150 to 235 in view of the growth in population.

If the recommendation comes to pass, there will be 243 Members of Parliament including the eight who are nominated by the head of State.

ECZ chairperson Esau Chulu said the recommendation arises from submissions received during the countrywide delimitation sittings and factors outlined in Article 59 of the Constitution which gives powers to the commission to delimit constituencies and wards.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Everything that the PF does is not in good faith, this proposed increase in number of constituencies is only meant to disadvantage the opposition whom PF think they will fail to field representatives in all constituencies so as to advantage themselves and rig in those areas where the opposition will fail to have representation, so consider this provision through and just strategize, we have to work together as Zambian, PF knows they are out hence all these desperate last kicks of a dying horse ( in Bemba they Say, Imfula Pakuya, ilonaula ifisabo) meaning when the rain is about to go, it destroys the crop.

  2. A strong legislature is good for democracy. In statistics, the bigger the sample, the bigger the representation of the population. It makes sense to increase community participation by increasing community representatives. The issue of cost also makes sense. In implementation, perhaps it would be necessary to proceed in three stages. In the first stage, then around 15 deputies would be added; at the second stage, then around 15 deputies would be added; and at the last stage, then around 15 deputies would be added. In this way the impact on the budget would be manageable.

    • Dr M Kasonde: strongly disagree. We need to spend money wisely and not on politicians to meet and talk and talk. The Nigerians did it when they created more and more states to increase so-called representation. They built state assemblies and state governor’s mansions and expensive cars. It was during the oil boom and paying for these was no problem. Then the oil price collapsed. They are yet to recover, if ever. We’re in the Google age, so check it out.

    • The principle of expansion/ inclusion in the legislature needs to be debated separately from the issue of funding per se. When advantages outweigh disadvantages, then it must be possible to source funds for remuneration of deputies. The case of Nigerian Federation referred to in critical perspective is mixed. The number of Nigerian states (=provinces) remains high, so is the population. In each state, the state governor must be housed and transported, etc. At the same time, the state assembly needs space and staff. It is up to Nigerians to complain about their own country. The concern here is the Zambia.

  3. As Zambians we never look at the cost implications. It would be madness for us to increase the size of parliament when we are broke.

    If anything, we should shedding some constituencies.

  4. Mr Hamududu said the seemingly silent bipartisan agreement in effecting this increase in constituencies reveals the common inherent selfishness of politicians, across the board. I AGREE

  5. This is pointless. Parliament in Zambia already serves little function than to gobble money. If ECZ were serious about improving representation it would recommend limiting the power of the executive in favor of true oversight powers for parliament. More rubber stamps (let alone self-important people running around behaving as bigwigs) would be meaningless!

    • On second thought, I’m not sure how “pointless” this is really. While Zambia certainly doesn’t need more rubber stamps and and won’t benefit from merely increasing the number of parliamentarians, such a move could well make it more difficult for an opposition party to unseat the incumbent – thus undermining democracy, not improving it!

      Already fielding 156 candidates is a large task and fielding 235 would be an even bigger challenge unless, of course, you have had time in power enrich the party through chains of patronage (or to steal as the case may be?). Sneaky move ECZ! Far from what you say about population, delimitation, Article 59, and other what-what, this could be a thinly veiled ploy to help PF hang onto power. How independent is this ECZ really?

  6. How much are we spending on one MP today? Salary, allowances, gratuity (K 600,000 x 235 paid in full at the end of the term and yet professionals who have worked for years are not paid their pensions), fuel, election materials during campaigns etc.

    Titles like Dr, Prof, etc no longer make sense because some of the things they say even a 12 years child would speak sense.

  7. Hamududu is very right and his observation agrees with my submissions to the ECZ. We don’t need more Constituencies but Wards. We also need to devolve most of the functions being done by central govt to local authorities. If all Councils were buying their own things we wouldn’t have had scandals of the magnitude of the 42 fire tenders. What must be abolished is CDF which must be replaced with the Ward Development Fund in order not to disadvantage large Constituencies which ultimately need to be divided into more Wards. If we take governance closer to the people we won’t even need Deputy Ministers, what will they be doing anyway? Most people in leadership lack common sense!

  8. I agree on point that development should not start with MP but people on the ground. Secondly we see it from UPND, MP promote the party and not people’s agenda. With few contributions l question the morality 9f increasing the number of MPs. I will support only when MPs represent the people and are willing to stand with the people and not the party per say.

  9. Boltched introduction of deputy ministers, proposed increase in parliamentary seats, and now introduction of deputy DG at the moribund ZNBC. What for surely? Are people giving these things enough thoughts?

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